Asterisks, Writing and Ickiness

Even though I consider myself a writer, first and foremost, I find that writing often falls dangerously low on my list of priorities.ย  Writing has always been a release for me. Whether it be working on my novels (and there are way too many on the go), journaling or penning the oh-so-terrible poem that often seems more like a tragic rant than anything.

But lately I’ve been doing the I should write, but…. song and dance. You know the one where you admit that you could/should be writing but follow it up quickly with a massive list of reasons <read excuses> why you can’t.

Yeah that’s where I’ve been.

Given that writing is so essential to my well-being, I figured it was time I uncovered the source of all this excuse making. In a sentence, I’ve fallen out of love with writing. I say that with a gigantic asterisk.

This, but like 10 times bigger.
This, but like 10 times bigger.

I don’t mean that I’ve fallen out of love with my story – I haven’t – I just mean the entire process has become tiresome. Falling out of love with my writing, to me, means that I’m no longer having fun at what I’m doing.

And why aren’t I having fun anymore? Simple. In the pit of my stomach, disguised as a golden nugget, sits a familiar enemy – perfection. Ah yes, that tricksy noun has been a plague on my soul for countless years. Sure it’s golden on the outside but when you crack it open it’s filled with putrid, gooey ickiness at its core.

My desire to be perfect – to have each written word come out perfect – overshadows my need to write. I’m so paralyzed by this desire that it’s become easier not to write then to stress about whether it’s good enough.

Like a reoccurring nightmare, this golden nugget of perfection keeps coming back to haunt me. No matter how often I try to remind myself to just keep writing, perfection walks in, spreads its ickiness all over my confidence and clogs up the creative flow.

I write a sentence and the tar-like substance slides in, wraps itself around my words and infects it. It infects me too. And so at some point I just stopped writing. I gave in and gave up. I long to write but I’m afraid to pick up my pen. Instead I watch others write, edit and publish. I sit on the sidelines and mourned my own failure; throwing myself pity parties to comfort my aching soul.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Writers are all up in their heads ALL THE TIME, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re crap. I say convince like it took effort, but in reality it goes down more like this:

Me: Hmmm, is this good enough?

Golden Nugget of Perfection: Nope, it sucks. Give up now.

Me: Okay, if you say so. *walks away from writing.*

Okay that might be a tad simplistic but it sure feels this way. Am I the only one that has long, drawn out conversations with myself? GAWD I hope not!

Anyway, the point of this post – and I do have one – is that I’ve let myself fall too far from my writing and instead of walking away quietly, I’m taking a stand (again).

I’m giving myself permission to just write. No it won’t be perfect, but in the end I’ll be much happier if I continue to write than let it fall into oblivion.

If I have to remind myself a million and one times, I’ll do it. I hope I learn well before then but the point is I’m never giving up. I hope you won’t either ๐Ÿ˜‰

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4 thoughts on “Asterisks, Writing and Ickiness

  1. Oh, Angie, I share your pain, and I’m sure we are legion. When that perfection troll starts whispering in our ears, it’s so hard to shove a sock in its mouth and just carry on.

    One of the things I try to remind myself of when I’m writing something and wondering if it’s good enough is that OF COURSE IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Nothing at first draft stage is good enough. That’s why it’s called the vomit draft. Almost nobody gets it perfect right out the gate. When it’s written, revised, re-revised, and re-re-revised, that’s when I’ll allow myself to seriously question whether it’s good enough.

    A few months ago I was going through my old notebooks, I came across the first draft of one of the best stories I’ve written. It was so god-awful, I blushed to read it and I was amazed that I’d bothered to move on to the revision stage.

    I think most of us have these doubts from time to time. Your solution is the only way to deal with them–take a stand and allow yourself to write whatever trips off your fingers. If it’s horrible first time around, have faith that you can buff it into fabulousness by the third draft. That’s my plan, anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Firstly, yes. Yes, I do have conversations with myself. Daily, in fact, and around others.

    Secondly, Kern makes some excellent points!

    And lastly: Thank you for this post. For always being honest. I can relate oh.so.much. *hugs*

    Lately, for me, it’s not so much the writing but alllll the other nonsense that I don’t understand, that makes me feel small and helpless. It’s a whisper in my ear telling me I’ll never be good enough, I’ll never make it, so why try? I’ve been writing for so long without sharing due to fear, shyness, and low self-esteem, why try now? What would it really matter? Does the world need another book? A book by the likes of me? Am I really adding to the conversation or am I just more static?

    blah blah blah

    I’ll stop vomiting self-deprecating things all over your blog this morning and get my kids to school. The end. =)

    1. The thoughts you’re having are so completely normal. The fact you recognize that it’s fear putting up road blocks is even better! It means that when those feelings arise you can stand up and scream

      “Back off fear! I know that’s you trying to diss my party & I won’t let it happen!” Or something similar ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks again for your honest comments!

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