I woke up this morning with this paralyzing case of self-doubt. Who knows why some days I brim with assurance and others I’m seeping uncertainty. But today was one of those days. I’m still struggling with it and it’s mid-afternoon.
For one thing, I’m just tired. My real life is full of complications. I had refrigerator repair people in yesterday, my car is broken and I can’t figure out when I’m going to get it fixed, I need more money so I can pay the bills, the kids want new clothes for school–that’s both a time and money sucker. Yuck. Plus I think I have a urinary tract infection so I just don’t feel good.
I know that all this is bleeding over into my writing life and while that makes sense it doesn’t help to bolster me emotionally.
But as usual, I found what I needed. I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write and I had a few minutes between meetings so I pulled it out. On page 11 she’s talking about why it is that we write. She argues that most of put way too much pressure on ourselves about writing–she says, “most of us are really willing only to write well, and this is why the act of writing strains us. We are asking it to do two jobs at once: to communicate to people and to simultaneously impress them.”
Wow–do I know that stress. I’ll be happily writing along and then remember myself and think–“woah–does this suck? Is it publishable? Am I leaving enough white space on the page? Does the dialogue zip?” And that pretty much kills it. I’m then so busy second-guessing myself that I believe the writing does suck.
Cameron’s passage made me ask myself, why do I write? At the end of the day it’s because I’ve got all these people and their stories inside of me and they desperately want out–whether they come out brilliantly or barely readable doesn’t matter to them. They only care that they get out.