It seems like a simple question. A flutter in conversation to see if my interests have stayed the same since the last time I ran into an old friend. There’s not a tone, a smirk, or anything to lead me to the blabber which fell out of my mouth in the answer. “Uh, yeah. I write.” Followed by the avalanche of excuses, “When I have time. When I’m not baking. Life is so busy, yanno?” My poor friend waded through the insecurity vomit until she could get to the simple closing, “Oh good.”
What brought out this three-headed beast? Why did I crumple into a hunched over gremlin like the thing on the Lord of the Rings acting like writing is “my precious”? Stupid doubt. Crippling fear brought on by almost two years of silence in my writing life. You may have noticed with the blog having sporadic updates even though I resolved to do a book review a month. That’s only a piece of it. I can’t even scribble out a couple words to describe a cake on a regular basis. This doesn’t even start to cover the fact my characters from my current novel and the potential one I’ve been dreaming about are stuck in ice. Frozen until I can break through my writer’s block.
I’m not sure how it happened. A tragedy that rocked my world? Being overwhelmed by the distractions I set up for myself to heal? I don’t really know if it matters why. All I know is that I punish myself on a daily basis for not getting back on the horse. For instead letting it trample over my body and shit huge turds on my head. Even this paragraph relies on a clichéd image because I’ve been out of practice for so long.
Why are you still readying this pity party? Because I’m finally doing something about it. I’m putting words on this page. I’m signed up for the writers’ conference, I’m reading again, and I plan to finish the works I want to write. However, this doesn’t help the sinking feeling that overtakes my mind when someone asks me the question, if I’m still writing. I add the implication they’re saying I should give up. That it’s never going to happen. I’m wasting my time. Even though the person never thought that at all.
What I need to realize (and hopefully you will too when dealing with your own insecurity) is the person asks because they’re interested. Maybe even jealous you had the courage to try the impossible. They want to live the experience through you. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have wasted the breath. So how can I hate on myself when someone is praising me for trying? The answer is I shouldn’t. Instead I should do their question proud. And keep writing.
(And maybe drinking…)