More On Writing and Why I Want You To Care

Ever since that crazy post I wrote on getting serious about the business of writing, I’ve been battling the voices in my head that tell me I’m not interesting, that I have nothing to say, that I’m not a good writer. This is not me fishing for compliments or platitudes, by the way, but the reality of my brain.

(It also doesn’t help that I’m reading the blogs of some amazing writers, which TOTALLY puts me in a They Should Be Writing a Book, Not Me kind of mood.)

One of those amazing writers, Jen Lemen, linked to this post the other day about an extrovert’s struggle to be comfortable in the solitude of writing.

I don’t struggle with extroversion. In fact, I’m the opposite – I’m very energized by spending time alone. But her thoughts made me realize that my struggle with the voices in my head is part of the process of writing. And writing about the process of writing could be very beneficial for me in pushing through the insecurities of sharing my art with the world.

I know it seems strange that I would feel vulnerable at the thought of exposing my process of writing. I mean, what HAVEN’T I talked about on this blog, right? But this writing project I have in mind is different. At least in my mind it’s different, and perhaps this pedestal I’ve placed it on is the first obstacle for me to overcome.

It’s just writing, right? And I do that everyday, right?

(500 words – can I hear an amen?)

For me I think the vulnerability comes in the invitation of participation. As Notes to Self says on her writing blog – it is a place to “test-drive poems, and a sketchpad for fleshing out ideas. A place to talk about the creative process.” – I too hope to test drive essays and flesh out story ideas and work through my creative process. I will be welcoming feedback and critique on work I have created.

And maybe that’s the real difference. In my regular blog writing, when I describe the edge of the cliff I’m standing on at the moment, I welcome the community of discussion, but I don’t necessarily ask for critical feedback on my grammar or writing style. But in my posts on writing I hope to hear from you regarding what works, what’s moving slow, what’s unclear, etc.

So if you want your name to appear in the ‘acknowledgments’ section of my book when it’s published, I suggest you speak up when I ask you for feedback [wink].

In the meantime, to beat back those voices that cause me to freeze, I remind myself that I am a constant student of other writers. I pay attention to cadence, and style, and voice, and use of punctuation, and other, more creative ways to say, “I like guacamole.” And this reminds me that even if I am not a great writer at the moment, something inside me is driving me to learn more and dig deeper into myself so the natural ability in me can be dusted off and polished.

6 thoughts on “More On Writing and Why I Want You To Care”

  1. It’s always hard to get an accurate read on what you’re capable of. I mean – there are heaps of people out there who fancy themselves as writers – what makes you any different?

    Well, in your case, it’s because you’ve proven it with what you write. It’s easy to point to other people’s blogs and sites and say “now they’re a good writer” but not be able to see it in your own. But people who read your blog can see it.

    So my 2c worth? Keep writing, keep plugging away. Because no one every became a writer by agonising over whether they were any good. Most people start writing because they have to, and then they get good.

  2. Baggage, stuffed to overflow with Expectations. That’s what I’ve been lugging around the writers’ departure lounge for, well, ever.

    The blog has turned out to be a friendly valet with a wheeled cart, saying, “Let me take this for you.”

    Sorry, I have not had near enough coffee yet this morning.

    What I’m trying to say is the blog(s) has put the fun, yea, even joy, back in writing for me. I mean, what kind of expectations are you going to pin on a blog? Really. It’s a Blog. As far as I know, a genre still unrecognized by the Nobel committee.

    I also did the math recently, and was astounded at the volume of writing I have managed to produce on the blog. So long, excuses. Apparently, I have made the time. And while some of it is fluff and drivel, I think some of it is ready for prime time.

    I am so glad you left a comment on 1,167. I visisted here months ago, but somehow it dropped off my radar. I am happy to connect again.

    Here is your quote of the day, from the Rev. Woo-Woo Marianne Williamson, who just uncorks a great one every now and then. (this is misattributed often to Nelson Mandela, don’t you know that sucks)

    We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

    Keep on keepin’.


  3. Oh, I relate with all of your feelings! I think there should be an official ceremony for all of us writers where, like knights, we’re tapped on our shoulders three times. Only with a quill or something, instead of a sword. And from that point on, we could know without a doubt that we are writers. Not just wanna-be’s, but the real deal. Even if we aren’t being prolific. And part of the ceremony would say all the insecurities that come with our job, so we’d know that they only confirm that it’s ours.

    So here’s me tapping your shoulders. You’re a writer, and you’re very good, and you’re getting better daily with practice and, like you said, with studying the work of others. Yay for us! We’re writers!!! 🙂

  4. jen–i think uncovering the process is so critical. i spend a lot of time on that, actually, because i need to learn how to compare myself to myself, and not some fictionalized ideal of what “writer” is supposed to be in my head. so yay! it’s worth the conversation and the reflection and it will get us all thinking…and writing. can’t wait to see how your journey unfolds!

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