Does anyone else hear them or am I the only one?
Their attacks are so specific, so highly focused, so perfectly targeted, that sometimes I wonder if they really will take me out. Or at the very least, if they are right.
Do you hear them too?
They tell me that I can't really do this, that I'm fooling myself, that it'll be a lifelong pursuit of something that will never really happen. They call me a fake. They say that I should just give up now instead of doing all this work, instead of trying again. After all, it's going to take so much energy, so much time. And for what? Hours upon hours of writing, weeks of editing, crafting of queries, proposals, and waiting... for more rejections? And what if this is it? What if this is the last story I get? What if I don't get any ideas after this one?
This one still deserves to be written. This one needs my very best.
If only I knew what it was about!
I don't know where y'all are in your writing journeys, your confidence levels, or in your lives. I've been struggling. There's been the beginning of a story inside of me for a long time. Months, in fact. And it just isn't coming. I finally got a name the other night, which led to a few more ideas. I have all of these pieces, but I don't have a story yet. I don't have a setting. And other than one or two characters, I don't have the rest of the cast.
Tonight, I found myself thinking of my last manuscript, the one I poured my heart and soul into. I gave everything. I still believe in it, but I need a crit group or an editorial service, I think. Something to polish it off before I try/query again. As I stared at the notebook on my lap, with a page filled with scribblings of possibilities for my new story, scribblings that are going somewhere but not any time fast, I heard those voices again. This time they told me that my last story was my best one, that this one wouldn't match up. That I couldn't do it again. They reminded me of the story that came before that one and how much emotional energy it required. And then they said, "Why try this time? Why are you doing this?"
Honestly, it's been a while since I've written creatively. I've done a few nonfiction pieces this summer and of course, started this blog. I've written some for my support updates and did some promotional stuff for a missions organization, but I haven't worked on a Story in a while. I miss it. I'm in this weird period of waiting. Once all the scribblings make sense, the story will just pour out. It always happens this way. Until then, it's more waiting. And in the waiting, the voices get louder and louder.
This post is me telling those voices to "shut up."
If we focus so much on the final destination, it's easy to lose the pleasure of the process itself. It's fun putting all of those pieces together and having them work. Writing is fun. And if we solely find validation in publication, then it will be so easy to get discouraged. It's got to be about more than that. I can't control if I get on the shelves or not. I can control how hard I work at writing. I can do my best with what I have right now. I can be faithful in this moment and trust that God will take care of the rest.
Thanks to all of you who reminded me of that last week, with your comments and blog posts.
As to the rest of my Story, I would be pleased to make your acquaintance just as soon as you are so willing to grace me with your presence....
***Some of you have mentioned that you've had problems linking to me for some reason. I tried to fix it; hopefully it worked! Those of you who had problems, can you tell if it's fixed now? Thanks for pointing it out! I appreciate all the help I can get!
6 hours ago