|Photo by Rick Campbell|
Good enough for what? For someone to pick me, to think I'm worth investing in as a writer. Good enough to have someone give me free room and board and possibly to pay me a stipend as well. Good enough for someone else to think it's any good.
My writing doesn't fit the contemporary trend. It doesn't fit what I was taught was "good writing" in my college creative writing courses. It doesn't look or sound like the writing I admire. There is an element of my writing not yet being equal to my taste level, but more than that it's an issue of my writing being different.
But different isn't bad; it's just...different. The reason my writing doesn't sound like anyone else's is because it's my unique voice, and that's never been put out there before. I'm making conscious decisions about style and subject that are risky because they're unpopular right now. But you know what? Publishers didn't like Virginia Woolf's style at first, either. (Not that I'm a Virginia Woolf. Just saying.)
What I finally realized yesterday is that I'm at another crossroads in my career. The first step for me was deciding to give this whole writing thing a solid go, which I did two years ago. Now the question I face is: Do I keep writing despite the lack of encouragement or appreciate I may get from my peers in the writing world, or do I say, "Well, I gave it a shot," and give up?
Obviously I'm not giving up.
How, then, do I move forward again? How do I overcome the crisis of confidence and get back into a daily writing practice after nearly two months of neglecting my creative projects?
In the last week or two, I've noticed that I've been getting creative ideas. A story idea or a line or an image will pop into my head. But instead of writing it down, I let it fade. Why? Because I've judged them prematurely and decided that, while they may be entertaining or interesting to me, they're not worth the energy it would take to actually write them down.
Wait, what? My Muse gives me a present, and I say, "Oh, that's really nice and I like it, but it would take too much effort for me to raise my arms to accept it, so you can keep it. Or let it fall on the ground. Whatever."? Well now that's just rude.
I've noticed in the past that the more I validate my ideas by writing them down - even if they don't turn into full-blown stories or poems, even if I never look at them again - the more ideas I have, the more excited I feel about writing, and the more energized I feel by doing it.
So step one: quit judging. Write it all down. Go to my journal and write down the few things I remember from the past week that I didn't write down in the moment. And then step two: start showing up on a daily basis and continue writing down everything, regardless of whether I think it's any good.
And this brings me to...
ROW80 Round 4 Goals
"A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life."
I have four goals for the final round of ROW80 2014, which starts on Monday, October 6th. (Omg, the year is almost over already?!? Whaaaa???). In order of importance, these goals are:
Show up to writing 2-3 hours/day. At this moment in time, it's not appealing to me to try to dictate what projects I work on. Of course I want to finish some of the things I've gotten underway, but it's more important for me to reestablish and maintain a daily writing practice than it is for me to finish writing a particular thing.
Be an active ROW80 sponsor. I've volunteered to be a sponsor for this round of ROW80. Yay! Sponsoring involves writing one inspirational post that'll go up on the ROW80 blog at some point during the round and checking in with participants twice a week. Last time I sponsored, I learned a lot from the other participants and strengthened my sense of being in a writing community, so I'm looking forward to this.
Read for fun. Reading good writing ignites my creativity. Reading bad writing inspires me to write. Therefore reading is important to my writing process. Plus, it's something I can do that doesn't take a lot out of me and doesn't involve staring at a computer screen. So to start with, my goal is one book a week. Unless it's Stephen King's The Stand (which is over 1,000 pages and took me nearly two weeks to read), I should be able to read any book in a week or less. Of course I'm not limiting myself to only one book a week, especially if I happen upon a series that sucks me in and doesn't let go. ;*)
Continue posting twice a week on this blog. Writing posts for this blog prompts me to reflect on my writing life, which I find useful. It's kind of like being my own writing coach. It also provides a medium for connecting with other writers who have similar experiences. And yes, it's also my business site, and posting regular content is one of my marketing strategies. All excellent reasons to maintain quality content here.
What are your writing goals for this fall? Are you going to participate in ROW80, NaNoWriMo and/or some other writing challenge? What do you do to break free from a crisis of confidence?