Writing is an exhausting and terrifying thing, especially when your life is already exhausting besides. (I would suppose that if your life is also terrifying, it muddles things even further.)

Anyone have another metaphor besides calling oneself a broken record? I’m too tired to think of one, which takes me back to my point. I’m always just so tired these days, and I rarely get time to write, which is pretty much what I tell you every time I decide to post. Remember when I said that August is my month for quitting? Well, I didn’t quit in August, but here it is September, and I am only able to sit down once every other week to really work on my project. (Working title: Luke and Catie. Original, huh? I stink at titles.)  Afraid of my story growing cold, and missing the fulfillment I experience through writing, I stress over it and feel anxious. I try to remember that there’s no need to be hasty — which is a lesson Jesus was teaching me a few years ago — and tell myself to just write when I can and read when I can. To stay connected to literature.

So, I’ve been listening to books on CD during my commute to and from work. Recently finished Lord of the Flies, which is brilliant, and now listening to The Poisonwood Bible, which is also brilliant so far. What amazing writers who make me feel like such a loser. This is not inspirational. This is an exercise in literary flogging as I watch them weave a beautiful tapestry of words that reinforces my ineptitude. Luke and Catie are so one-dimensional, though I love them so, and I have scarcely begun to describe anything in their world with any semblance of artistic imagery. I want to start over already, but that’s too much.

Here I sit, with a few minutes to write, and I’m stuck. I love my characters, and I love their story, but I want to begin writing better now. Writing in a way that is true art. I believe I can — certainly not like the greats, but in my own way — but I’m already twenty-two thousand, six hundred forty-eight words into the project. Sudden shift? Weird. Start over? No way. Resign to mediocrity and waste my time? Unthinkable.

Now I have wasted my brief opportunity to write by writing about writing, which got me nowhere except into deeper exhaustion and terror.

No, terror is not too strong a word. It’s terror that a writer feels when she has invested her heart and soul and many hours into a story she loves that just might turn out to be a heap of feces.

  1. macayla says:

    “It’s terror that a writer feels when she has invested her heart and soul and many hours into a story she loves that just might turn out to be a heap of feces.” That quote is going in my quote journal. Sheer brilliance. So, even if your story is a heap of feces, you accomplished greatness with this sentence.

    In all seriousness, I understand the terror. It never goes away. Use it as motivation to continue working on your craft. I’m so glad that you’ve not quit. That you’re still thinking about Luke and Catie and still writing about them every now and then means you’re still active in the story, just at a much slower (and much more aggravating) pace.

    Give yourself the freedom to write the way you want to write, even if that means your story is uneven from the first section to the section you’re on now. That’s okay. Can I tell you how many versions of “The Broken Road” I wrote before I finally ended up with the one that’s being published? Can I tell you how much it sucked in those first 15 versions? Oh my corn. It was bad. Very bad. Burn the early drafts and deny their existence bad. I would reread my drivel and think, “Seriously. There is no way on earth anyone will ever find this story interesting. I write like a third grader hyped up on Sour Patch Kids and Mountain Dew.”

    Maybe you need to lower your word goal to something like 250 words a day while you’re so busy and overwhelmed. Write a few good sentences and, if you must, jot down where you want to go with it tomorrow.

    Oh, and, by the way, you didn’t say it in these words, but I see them scratched across the blog entry, so I must say: You are not a failure. You are a victorious child of the King who is battling through another difficult season of writing. You are not failing. Don’t believe satan’s hateful lie that is meant to stop the writing. Believe the truth.

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