As I tweeted earlier, I am coming to terms with my suckitude, and then trying to psych myself to work harder, in order to make up for my lack of natural talent as a writer. I haven’t been posting much here, because I like to entertain, even in the throes of pain whether psychic or physical, and I just don’t know how to make the anguish over my writing, at all charming.
I’ve gotten rejection after rejection from litmags, even if once in awhile, I receive a wonderful and encouraging handwritten note from a notable litmag. In the end, they’re all still rejections–hundreds of them. I even got a litmag rejection on my birthday. It has made me give up entirely on writing short stories.
I’m surrounded by successful people and friends, whether in the world of writing or in the world of business. My husband is brilliant and amazing and has achieved so much in his industry vertical. Next to their many commendations and achievements I feel, well, I feel like all those rejections speak for me. Almost, but not quite. Or more often, not good enough.
Meanwhile, my novel is taking everything out of me. It overwhelms me. It intimidates me. It taunts me. It occasionally winks at me. It smells good. It smells bad. It is elusive. It is stoic. It is confusing. It is an enigma at times. It unfurls itself and shows me its entire landscape at other moments. It is a long way from being finished.
I’ve considered never writing again. I can’t bring myself to do it. I have no choice but to write. I love it too much. I consider the tragedy of loving an activity at which I totally suck, and that just makes me want more chocolate. But it doesn’t make me want to stop writing.
It is out of arrogance that I think my novel should be easier to write, that the words should pour forth from my fingers. The reality is that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever undertaken. I’m not as talented as others. And so I’ve got to put in the work.
And I’ve got to be happy about the work. I’ve got to be motivated to sit at my desk and write the words, navigate my prose, and be there if the Muse happens to stop by–because if I’m not there, I may miss the Muse.
Thus ends my absolutely uncharming post. In sum:
- Writing is heartbreaking.
- Writing involves a lot of failure.
- I’m not as talented as other writers.
- Thus, I have to work harder.
- If I show up to work, I may actually meet the Muse.
- Work is how I finished the first draft of my novel.
- Eventually, I’ll finish revising my novel. Through hard work.
- I don’t have to finish revising on any timeline. I just have to make it my best.
- Shut my eyes when lists like “New Yorker’s 20 Under 40” come out.
- Because I’ll most definitely be over 40 by the time I finish revising this novel.
- Don’t quit.
This isn’t much different from what I tell my students. I also tell them to find support in each other, because support from peers and mentors makes all the difference.