Confessions of a Fledgling Writer

Austens Writing DeskThis morning when my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m., I groaned. That’s not the confession.  I groan every morning when my alarm goes off. And then I reach for my laptop and begin writing.

But this morning when I opened my laptop I sputtered, and despite herculean efforts (or what feels herculean at five in the morning), nothing came.

I tried reading what I wrote yesterday. That didn’t help.

I started typing anyway, hoping to stir the muse.

Nothing.

So I did what anyone who wants to become a seasoned, disciplined writer would do. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Or at least I tried to.

But the protagonist in the short story I’m writing kept suggesting ways I could better tell her story. I owed it to her, she practically screamed, to get it right.

And then my monkey mind chimed in to state, as if it were fact, that I would never, ever finish writing these damn stories, and that even if I did, no one outside my immediate family would read them anyway.

And then, as if my head wasn’t already filled with enough voices, a third voice chastised me for feeling sorry for myself when ebola, famine, war, the Kardashians, etc.

I didn’t fall asleep. I didn’t write either. My brain, weary from the weight of all the pressure I was putting on it, wandered to images of teacup pigs, and scenes from last night’s episode of Arrow.

I, I reminded myself, am definitely not cut out to be a writer.

Fast forward a couple of hours and I see this quote in my Facebook feed:

Like swimming, like playing tennis, there are people writing at all levels. If you just want to amuse yourself writing the weekends, just keep on keeping on. If you want to bash out a novel, you need no more advice than to keep on keeping on. But if you dream of making something original and beautiful and true, if you imagine seeing your book reviewed, or in the window of a book store, you’re in the same position as the ambitious swimmer—you’ve got a lot of training to do, a lot of muscles to build, a lot of habits to start establishing right now, today.” – Peter Carey

And that reminded me that I dream of making something original and beautiful and true, so I have a LOT of training still to do. My muscles, as a neophyte, are small and weak, tired from all the work I’ve already put in. My habits are still forming.

So here’s my confession. Today I didn’t add anything new to my short stories. Today I postponed the appointment with my protagonist until tomorrow. Today I chased the monkey from my mind and asked him to, until further notice, take the world’s problems with him.

Truth is, I’m still working on that last one. But, as trite as this sounds, I’m running a marathon. I’ve decided I’m in this for the long haul. On the days when I feel weary, I’ll rest for  a bit. Today I’ve decided to be okay with that. And tomorrow, when my alarm goes off at five, I’ll grab the laptop and pray that my muscles can take it.

 

Photo credit: Flickr

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