write on wednesday…The Editor’s Voice
July 2, 2008 § 7 Comments
the Prompt from Write on Wednesday: Are you ever assailed with self doubt about your writing ability, or about the reasons for writing at all? Do you “follow yourself around nagging and suggesting and complaining”? What are some of the negative things your Editor tells you? What could your Editor say to be more encouraging? How do you encourage yourself to keep practicing the craft of writing?
Self doubt about my writing? Um, yeah. If it’s anything I’m publishing or sharing. It comes with the job, I guess. But I have learned to stomp on the Editor’s whining and musings, and to ignore that part of me that says: is this piece ever going to be finished?
The reasons for writing at all? I have no clue. I am compelled. Some people draw effortlessly. Others sing, lead armies, make speeches, calculate the likelihood of life on other planets – I write. When I’m in it, it doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad. It’s happening. The self doubt seeps in as soon as I think to share, peddle or publish it. The self doubt sets in as soon as I hit “send.”
I suspect that as long as I write and publish, I’ll have doubts. It’s kind of like stage fright. You have to have some. It would not be good if you did NOT experience it to some degree. But you’re only allowed the doubt after you’ve worked your ass off and made it the best you can (and then pray your hubs or friend or editor takes it from you and says “it’s good. You can stop.”).
I nag and complain at myself when I am NOT writing. And yet I find excuses to avoid it sometimes; thus, I will actually say this: thank goodness for deadlines!!! Otherwise, I would dust the books on our shelves, clean the fridge, scrub the front steps, make kites, call all my friends – anything! anything! to avoid writing.
Odd as it may sound, reading other blogs can intensify my self doubt. Yet I am glad to see there are so very many compelling writers. (of course I will be singing a different tune once I have a piece of fiction complete. My bylines are all in journalism.)
What should my “Editor” do for me? Above all, I wish my “Editor” would understand that all work does not take an equal amount of attention. There are little jobs. There are big jobs. There are details that can be attended to later and not sighed and sweated over from the beginning (such as things that may not come easily like a title, or a sidebar, or, a character or a solid point of view.) I have learned to control my Editor so that I can write first. Get it down on paper. And then, rewrite and edit.
Practice writing? It’s a fave. The blog is good for it. As is the 2-pound hard cover journal I carry around. There is such joy and freedom in practicing the writing craft. Honestly? As a writer with a full time job, the tough part is getting to the writing. There are days of self-doubt and the (worry of ) “what am I going to do with this piece?” but fortunately, there are more days when the head is down, the pen is flying and the heart is saying, “it doesn’t matter. Just write.” It doesn’t have to be for a reason. Not now. Not yet.