In 2008, I joined Twitter. I was one of those that came to the party fairly early, signing up when only a handful of friends used it and not really understanding the whole thing at first. Like Facebook, but short? Ok, I’m all for the spirit of brevity. I also was able to do fun things like stalk celebrities and follow the news. For ten years I had this account, and I kept it fairly small. Then about two weeks ago, I started reading tweets from the writing community on Twitter, which is huge. Many people were doing what was called a writer’s lift, and those participating seemed to be plugged into this community that I had been watching for a little bit. I decided to give it a try, and within a week and a half I more than doubled my following. Mission accomplished! Wait…
With this came two dudes. One was nice enough, though he lives across the world and we probably have nothing in common. He was respectful enough when I told him I was married. The other, not so much. He begged me to meet him, promising that he could make all my dreams come true and insisting that he could make me happier than Mark does. Sir, you don’t know me. Even if I was single, a handful of tweets cannot possibly tell you who I am as a person. And if I say I’m happy in my relationship, that should be the cue to step back and away. Twitter is not a dating service. You will not find your true love here.
The weirdo is nothing, however, compared to the enormous self-doubt. I am now followed by published authors, which in theory should be a boost to my self-esteem but in actuality is sort of crippling. I see these people write 1000s of words a day and talk about their agents and editing and how they’ve completed another novel and I want to throw up. I look at my novel, which is pitiful in word count and will likely end up either being YA or a novella, and I feel sick to my stomach. I thought that connecting with other writers would boost me, but I’m finding it makes me self-conscious instead.
When I finish something, I’m positive about it. I’ve written stories and poems that have been published, and I have always been proud of my finished projects. It’s the stuff I’m working on that gives me nightmares. A novel that I am stuck on, trying to write about bargaining as a stage of grief. It teases me, saying “Hey look! Look how much you wrote, and look how far you have to go! YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO GET THERE.” I might get there, of course, but at the moment I am stuck. A poetry chapbook, which needs a handful more poems and then will be completed. That’s probably the easier of the two projects at the moment, but it feels insurmountable at times because I don’t have those few poems yet, and I don’t know when they will come to me. I never know when it’s going to come to me, and that is what makes this calling so difficult.
I write in my blog every Monday, even if I don’t have much to write about. It’s the one scheduled thing that I have, and I try to keep up with it as best as I can. I love the feeling of my fingers flying over the keyboard, trying to keep up with my racing mind. I wish I could feel this way all the time, just sitting at my desk and pecking out words and stories and tales of my life. Alas, I suffer from terrible bouts of writer’s block and self-doubt, the latter being my own personal Achilles’. I don’t doubt much, but I doubt my works in progress until they are complete. I doubt people want to read my work until I have proof, like publication. I assume it’s all garbage, no matter how many times I am told otherwise.
So, on one hand, I am glad that I’m getting so many new followers from the writing community, as it kind of gives me inspiration. If they can do it, you can do it! But on the other hand, can I? Or is that just something I tell myself so I don’t completely lose my mind?
K is here, so I’m going to go do the mom thing for a while. Hopefully later today I can sit down and get some work done, but truthfully, I’m not feeling it today. I don’t know if it’s my own self-sabotage or writer’s block or just that the sun is out but I’m not inclined to spend the day at my desk, even though I crave that feeling of productivity. Some days though, it doesn’t come. And that’s alright. I’ll just wait until inspiration strikes, then ride that mofo like the last train out of town.