Lately I’ve been going through a real rough patch with my writing. The world’s on fire so at times making the words happen is a struggle. But it’s been more than that too.
For a good portion of 2018 my mind has thrown every variation of “You’re a poseur writer” “You’ll never come up with any additional good ideas or concepts” “You basically had three ideas and you’ve done them already” at me.
Spoiler alert: even if it’s categorically untrue, it doesn’t make those thoughts hurt any less.
But then something happened that helped. I talked about my writing!
My wife Erin and I were taking our dog for a walk when I shared that I was beating myself up mentally. That by itself is a big deal.
And in the course of our walk-n-talk I described some of the works in progress I have…in the works. Again, this is also a big deal.
A detour if you will ’cause maybe some of you other writers feel the same way. Do you ever feel almost “ashamed” to talk about what your books are about? Especially with people like coworkers who either A) don’t know you’re a writer and/or B) don’t read/like your genre? And you’re describing what your book is about and it just sounds so, so silly and ridiculous and cringe-worthy? I don’t mean cringe-worthy in the sense that your book has problematic rep (though that’s always a possibility!), but just that somehow people will judge you for liking this kind of stuff, let alone creating it.
Wow okay, that’s a lot of shamebaggage to unload on you all. Solidarity if you feel the same way. Solidarity.
Anyway, I talked to her about some of my projects. And to my surprise she stops and says, “That sounds awesome!”
What? One of my ideas sounds good?
We talked some more as we wrapped up our walk. And just that 15 minutes of discussion gave me such a boost. (It also helped that I put this particular project on the shelf after hammering out a very, very rough draft a little over a year ago). But still!
Talking about a project–highlighting what you want to do with it, the thing that got you excited about it in the first place–as a way of restoring your writerly morale. Who knew that would work?!
Of course, YMMV, but I’m so grateful that I have somebody in my life who will listen to me ramble about my ideas without judging how “cool” they are. And yes I mean cool as in the tool-cool-for-school-caring-about-things-is-for-losers kind of way.
If you’re looking for a way to quiet down those doubting voices, try talking.