I feel like my chest has been cracked open this morning, and the inky blankness that has been poisoning my insides is seeping out. My throat is a little swollen for emotion, and my eyes are a little soar for resisting tears. I feel scared, and like my heart might just go screeching away in a car from a get-away scene.
I read a speech by Leah Bobet, and a blog post by my friend Steph. Leah is in that glorious stage of being a writer, and Steph and I are in that stage of wanting to be a writer. We all write, but one of us is published and the rest of us are not. Which means that even though we are on the same journey, we are on that road at different parts, and each of us having feelings about that road.
I have been feeling very melancholy lately. There are a variety of factors that go into that. I don’t know how to list them all here, without feeling like I’m tearing too much of my fear out and putting it on the page for criticism. It’s like holding onto that fear is what is keeping me glued together right now.
But still, here goes. Some of that melancholy comes from the day job. Some of that from bills. Some of that from upcoming holidays. Some of that from the elections that just past. All of that makes me questions my voice as a writer. Why am I writing? Who am I to fling words into the void? Will this story make a difference?
I’m feeling small. I’m feeling vulnerable. I’m feeling lost. I feel like a storm is raging around me, and I’m being tossed on a ship from side to side, and the sea wants to swallow me whole, and I know that if I fall in I will drown. And I’m paralyzed to move, because if I let go of where I am now, to try and do something else that could save me, what if I lose my footing along the way. What if I go overboard?
I sit at work, and question what I’m doing here. I tell myself I only need survive so many more hours. I think this time could be better spent. I could be walking my dogs. Tidying my house. Working on my novel. I did all of that on Wednesday and it was glorious. I’m tired of fitting writing into the margins of my life. I want it to be what I shine a spotlight on. But I also know I need to keep a roof over my head, and food on the table, and I’m not willing to sacrifice or downsize for more writing time. I have worked too hard to have the luxuries I have, and yes they are luxuries, to start at the bottom again. I just can’t fathom doing that.
And because I don’t want to start at the bottom, I need to come to peace with my writing being in the margins for now. I need to remind myself of my long term goals. But, then I will see other writers, with more books out, and I’m still struggling on working on my second complete project. I still need to go back and do edits on my first complete project. I feel immensely overwhelmed by the journey ahead of me. I can look down the mountain and see how far I’ve come, but the peak is still shrouded in mist, and the oxygen up here is getting less, and is replaced by more and more self-doubt.
Life is going to try and derail you at every turn on this journey. Certainly there are easier paths to follow. I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo fighting an existential crisis. And yet, if I take away the writing because it’s too hard, my life just looks empty. I don’t know who I would be any longer. Writing is my guidepost and it’s what allows me to push through these times of chaos and doubt. But it all feels so intertwined, all of the chaos and doubt. I feel like I can’t see one for the other.
When Leah Bobet says writing is hard, she’s not lying. When Steph says she’s been derailed and feeling lost, I get that. Both of those things speak to the struggle I have been having.
If you have a chance read both of those things, Leah’s speech, and Stephanie’s blog. Sometimes the comfort comes in knowing you’re not alone. And in that comfort we find strength to rally again and find the words we need to tell our stories.
For me the comfort come in writing about how I’m feeling, of placing that outside of myself. Hopefully when I get home tonight I will find the margin, and get my words in. I will brew some coffee if need be, because who cares about sleep patterns, it’s the weekend. This weekend, my goal is to write, and to not let those fears and doubts in. The storm will have to rage on without me, because I’m creating a bunker, and blocking out the rest.
Good Words (as a good friend Clay likes to say at the end of a writing event. The new standard of goodbye amongst writers.)
P.S. I would like to add an amendment to also read Liza Palmer’s blog post regarding failure and success, and how we define those. I seam to be stumbling across all of the things I need to be hearing today regarding my craft. It’s been a good day for pep, despite my ennui.