“We don’t discourage enough writers.”
Whether or not you’ve ever been in a writing workshop, I’ll wager you know that sentence is one you’d least like to hear after reading your piece for critique. That’s exactly the kind of thing I heard multiple times in my undergrad studies in creative writing. Not from my fellow students, from the teachers. I might have shrugged off such comments from my peers. It’s likely needless to say that I’ve got a bit of PTSD when it comes to writing.
Strangely, I’ve also got the exact antipode drive: I HAVE to write.
While I’ve been content to stay mostly in the shadows since graduation in December of 2001, that’s not an option anymore. I’m tired of pressing my face up against the window, watching the world (wide web) of writers having their day. There are many, many people putting their words out there. It’s SO easy (and free). I mean, come on! Right?
But . . . I’m terrified. And so round and round I go. Start a site, write a bit, quit. Get on at another site, write a few posts, quit. Sign up for Medium, Wattpad, etc., publish a few essays, quit. So the tires spin.
And then I came across Bloomwords. I really liked what Nadine was doing. I particularly liked how she would include exactly what was going on as she was writing. Pauses. The blinking cursor. Asides.
(sounds vaguely familiar.)
Exactly. I know that’s narcissistic, to like something because it’s something I do, kinda, but oh well. I guess I’m self-obsessed. Whatever.
The more I read her stuff the more I though, “Hey, this is what I do. I just keep my scribblings hidden so no one can see it.” That is, I journal every day. Have for many years. In fact, I have journaled on and off since I was a teenager. As I read Bloomwords, a rusty wheel in the back of my mind broke free and slowly started to turn.
Nadine is an AWE-some writer. Crank. I want to be a writer. Crank. She’s writing literally what’s jumping into her mind at a given moment. Crank. What she is doing is similar to what I do. Crank. She is connecting with people (she has people commenting on almost all of her posts). Crank. Having people read what you write, even one other person, makes you a writer. Crank. She publishes regularly, that is, she’s not agonizing over everything she writes to the point it never sees the light of day. Crank . . .
(maybe we ought to . . .)
No. No. No. Well, may— Crank
The seed had been planted. Weeks past. Now, this post is the tip of the sprout breaking through the topsoil. I’m not quite sure what I’ve planted, but I’m hoping it will be fun to see what grows.
So, I talked with Nadine about it, i.e. asked if she’d mind if I stole her thesis. I got a lovely, encouraging response. This has motivated me to make my writing assignment for June a 30 day, stream of consciousness blog/journal challenge.
(and just so you know, dear reader, we know that Nadine doesn’t have a monopoly on this kind of blog. many blogs do this. we asked her because we know she’ll likely read our posts and didn’t want to step on her toes. and really, if you didn’t follow the link earlier, do so now: https://bloomwords.com. she’s really good. plus, we owe her one for inspiring us to do this.)
With any luck I’ll conquer the Fear and present a post a day for the month of June, or, as I’m calling it, Journaling June. Gawd only knows what topics I’ll cover. My journals are ALL over the place. Be ready for anything, everything, and the painfully inconsequential. Plus, be ready for crap. I mean, like my professor said, “They didn’t discourage enough writers.” That is, here I am, despite their best efforts otherwise.
(the thought occurs: they weren’t very good teachers, where they? if they were they’d have actually discouraged us. yet here we are almost 20 years later. so, who’s the real failure?)
I am not sure if anyone is interested, but in my journal before this was posted I wrote about my reservations starting Journaling June. I thought I would share it here. Why? Because I’ve always found solace in reading/hearing of other people’s accounts of their doubts and insecurities. I’m not talking about schadenfreude. I’m talking about learning of similar situations and the resulting uplifting feeling that I’m not alone. The following is the typical doubts that well up as I work on anything, even things people never see, but the Fear tends to be more pronounced when I’m going to publish/present something.
With that warning, if you’re like me and you like to know what goes on behind the scenes, particularly when it angst ridden, read on. If not, you can skip this bit.
So. . .
Today’s the day I need to decide if’n I’m going to attempt Journaling June.
(we did decide, didn’t we?)
More or less, yes. But failure (to launch) is alway an option. Even once I’ve hit “publish” I can go back and unpublish it. I mean, when you’ve no self-worth nor self-respect there’s nothing to lose by flaking out. In fact, flaking would validate my shit self-image. That’s something, albeit something in a negative way.
. . .
No. I’m just running off at the pen here. I’m going to do it. I’m just frightened. Terrified, really. I don’t want to open myself up for attack. But at the same time I don’t want to give up on myself either. That’s the rub, innit? As much as other people have hurt me, it’s when I’ve turned on myself that the worst damage was done. As much as I’m afraid of the big, bad world, I have to admit I’m more reluctant to be disappointed by me; more afraid to get up and try only to be tripped up and left behind by myself. Again.
I am my own worst enemy.
(and our own best friend. we are every bit the swirling contradiction that world is. the question arises: which face are we putting on, yin or yang?)