What to do:
Please know that I cringed as I wrote that.
Writing past the ugly and treacherous draft or the “I really don’t feel like writing” phase, is hell.
That “write, anyway” kind of writing is like some of the episodes of Season Three and Season Five of Scandal. You know? Those episodes we all had to suffer through to get to the gloriousness that was Season Six.
In a perfect world, writing, for those who live to do it, always comes easy. Ideally, our dreams of writing forever wouldn’t scare us, wouldn’t involve so much rejection, wouldn’t take so much time, and would pay a hell of a lot more.
And yet instead,
the going gets tough, the writing sucks,
and we find ourselves so afraid of writing badly that we don’t write at all.
I was in this funk the week before last. As the time got closer for me to put out a post, I found myself overcome with anxiety and avoiding my computer.
For the life of me I could not pull any inspiration to do the damn thing out of my spirit. All I could think about was that my idea of success was taking too long to accomplish, it was all too hard, I was tired, and besides, my writing sucked anyway.
These thoughts refused to give me peace:
Why do people keep reading my stuff?
Who do I think I am?
What in the world will I write about this week?
Making matters worse, I didn’t disclose any of these feelings to anyone until after the fact. I was too consumed with looking perfect (though perfection is evil). I was also too afraid of putting out a post that wouldn’t do so well, (especially after my post on white women did great), that I ended up not writing at all.
Shame on me, y’all.
Fact is, I don’t know everything but I know enough to know that we have to get some things out of our system to get to the good stuff.
In this case, writers have to write–even if it’s not award winning or viral spreading work–to get to the pieces we love.
Case in point, Monday’s post almost didn’t happen. After a week of not writing I thought to myself, “How stupid am I to put out a 25 lessons learned list for my birthday?” I worried I would look like I had lost my mojo. It pained me to think of the new followers I’d gained. I just knew they would all drop off like flies. Especially after they realized all I had in my arsenal was a list.
And then a thought came to me (a rational thought, so it must have come from God) that there is nothing new under the sun. Not only had a fellow blogger from the Black Bloggers United community just put out her own 25 lessons learned birthday list, but I was sure other people had done the same.
I learned this was true after a simple Google search.
Do y’all know that people have written these types of lists on Huffpost? Elite Daily and a slew of other places?
Would you believe me if I said those lists weren’t award winning and yet writers pitched them and were published?
I felt empowered to see a bit of representation and consequently, I was able to get to writing. In the end, while the blog post did not get shared 100 million times, I did get a message from a fellow blogger who I’ve been following for a month. She and avid Words with Randie readers enjoyed the list and that was good for me.
The lesson: once I stopped drafting my way into silence, I was able to stick to my schedule and get a post out.
In all, sometimes, those posts that we have to write when we’re battling fear aren’t the best. Sometimes they suck or at least aren’t at the standard we know we’re capable of. However, if we as writers had it all together, all of the time, what would be the point?
Another revelation: I am constantly receiving lessons that cause me to re-evaluate my idea of success. Because though my work isn’t lining the shelves at Barnes & Noble, I’m writing y’all. Even when my work doesn’t garner whatever praise I daydream about (but honestly may not be ready for). I am writing. That’s a blessing I don’t take lightly.
So, write anyway y’all.