Good day, my writing friends.
Summer is here. (It will officially be here in about three weeks, but Georgia seems to get an early start.) Time for beaches and barbecues, road trips and root beer floats. Somewhere amidst the chaos, I imagine there’s some writing and reading to be done. No rest for the weary and all.
And speaking of writing, it’s time for my monthly IWSG posting. This month’s co-hosts are Diane Burton, Kim Lajevardi, Sylvia Ney, Sarah Foster, Jennifer Hawes, and Madeline Mora-Summonte. Click on the links to learn more about them and what they have to say about writing. If you want to learn more about the IWSG, click here.
I have to admit that this month, it was a little difficult to come up with a topic to share for the group. This month’s optional question is something I touched on earlier this year: your favorite genre to write and why. So, I’m taking today to assess where I am.
The simplest answer, I’m not where I thought I would be, writing-wise as well as other areas of my life. To be fair, I didn’t go into the year expecting a whole lot. I guess I wanted to surprise myself.
But there is an underlying force at work: the inner workings of my psyche.
Last year, I spent an awful lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I spent countless hours comparing myself to others and my creativity suffered. I didn’t write as much because I psyched myself out from doing what I loved. And even though I had a lot of support and encouragement, there was always this nagging sensation that deterred me.
At the beginning of the year, I decided not to set any goals for my writing. Instead, I wanted to focus on my mental state and strive to be more positive; to not hone in on the negativity I inflicted upon myself. I thought by doing that, I could avoid the disappointment of not meeting goals I set. Yet here I am, writing this post, saying that the voices are still haunting me.
I’m still more attentive to the criticisms than I am the encouragement. I’m sucking the energy out of writing for enjoyment and redirecting it to the “business” side. The problem is that I’m not writing these stories that will supposedly lead to success.
If you’re wondering about the trap of comparing and contrasting, I fell into that again. I asked for writers to give me a thorough evaluation of my stories so that I could set goals that were attainable. That proved futile, and ultimately, I was selfish to ask because it wasn’t about making myself better; it was more about finding ways to please readers. And when that didn’t happen, I went to drastic measures to separate myself from a lot of writers whom I deemed toxic to me. In retrospect, I think I’m toxic to them with my constant complaining and threads of negativity.
Ok, that’s out of my system. It’s time to look at what’s going right. Project Blacklight is doing well. I gave it a much needed makeover. And I wrote a number of scenes that have legs to become stories. I still feel I need a litmus test to see where I stand, but that reinforces the hypothesis that I seek validation rather than pure improvement. Writers all over reminded me that at the end of the day, writing can be joyous venture once I place the focus on writing my stories, for me. But I can’t force it. I just started back on deliberate writing. The time will come where I will write stories soon enough.
The thing about me that every day I’m fighting battles with the negative, critical side of me. And unfortunately, writing is a casualty. But if not for the support of family and my writing communities, writing would be cut from my fabric completely. And as I’ve mentioned many times before, it’s hard imagining a life without writing.
I’m not where I want to be, that much is true. But the year is not over. I can still create goals. And not just ones that are “within my level,” but ones that will offer a challenge, while still being attainable. I can find a balance between the creative side and the critical side. There’s room for both, but not all at once. I acknowledge the negative voices will still want to speak to me and get me to give up, but I’m not going to let them win. Not anymore. I have too many ideas to just throw away because of the assumption that I’m not good enough. Regardless of my platform and genre, I deserve to call myself a writer. So, that’s what I’ll do, every day.