Writing Anxieties

I feel like a ghost. I pass through the rooms of the house with no words, no touch, unseen.

I was excited about my writing earlier today. I got to an important part in my book, where I’m outlining the mythology of the world, in particular Yggdrasil and the Norns, I’m not sticking strictly to canon. My story is pulling elements from multiple mythologies and I’m throwing in some things of my own creation. Add to that secret messages of a sort, and it’s a big, complicated deal. At the end of this section, they will have a better idea of what to do next and will start the next part.

So I wrote for a while, and when trying to work out the cosmology in my head, I went to refresh my memory of Yggdrasil. That’s one complicated, busy, bigass tree. But there are echoes of it through various cultures and times, with sacred trees and world trees and even the cross from Christianity. I had all these thoughts zooming around and I was buzzed about it. But I have no one to bounce these ideas off of. I think every writer probably is critical of their work and has self doubts. I have them a lot. I didn’t submit my poetry anywhere for years because of it. When a friend talked me into it and my work was accepted at multiple places, I think that scared me because I didn’t submit again for another ten years. By that time internet submissions were common and I really started working on it. I was published in a lot of places and had two collections released. But then when I became disabled I quit… I just didn’t realize it was the meds. I thought it was just that I was fighting to survive and keep my house. Maybe it was a bit of both.

So yeah. I was all excited and really wanted someone to bounce these ideas off of and have them tell me if they sucked or not. Because I had a flash of “What if what I’m writing is complete crap” itis. I’m afraid I’m going to screw it up and will have a confusing mess in this section rather than the eloquently worded, exquisitely crafted, yet illuminating and very clear paragraphs that I want. I’m still not comfortable with dialog either. I’m always worried that they sound unnatural. I also get discouraged because I think about all the time I should have been writing, but was busy with other life things. I keep telling myself that better now than never, and that’s true, but God I hope I get through this and that it’s good. I know most novelists write several books before having any success, if they ever have success. I know that after I get it written I have to submit it to publishing houses (and not online) that will probably throw it in a slush pile somewhere. Still, I have to hope.

I have a tendency to get ahead of things and reading that last paragraph, that’s what I’m doing now. I don’t need to worry about all that crap. I just need to write it. Everything else will come after.

 

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Discipline in my writing has always been a problem for me.  I’m going to try, once again, to get in the habit of writing regularly. I’ve been out of it for so long that trying to write more than diary posts feels like clawing my way through. However, even diary posts are more than what I’ve been doing.

Do you think a gift goes away without use? Is it an infinite well that only needs to be tapped, or does it dry up? Sometimes I’ll have a thought, an idea, or just a phrase come to me and think that I need to remember it, but if I don’t write it down, I forget. How many good ones have I forgotten? I’m not old but I’m certainly not getting younger. I should have been where I wanted to be by now, if only I’d had discipline. Still, better late than never. I think I have  a fear of success, but I’m not sure why. The first time I sent my writing out, it all got accepted. Then I didn’t submit anything again for years. Next I started working on building a reputation. Again, all my writing was accepted, but I kept going with it for as long as I could, getting accepted at more prestigious publications. Two chapbook collections released, and I had a fan base. This went on for a few years I guess… and the last poem, and probably my best, got an honorable mention in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Horror. That’s a very well known anthology, with a lot of sales every year. And then – nothing.

I became disabled, and I was fighting to keep my house. I took on more and more stuff to make money on the side.. selling vintage items, photography, seeds and plants. It kept me busy. More than that, I think I lost hope a bit… because poetry just doesn’t pay well, and I was fighting so hard to survive that I didn’t have it in me to write. When I got married, I had planned to go back to my writing, with the hopes of finishing a book. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to write anything. It was all crap.  At first I stuck to it, but day after day of crap discouraged me and I quit trying. Instead I concentrated more on my photography.

So this is me, giving it another try. I just started with a new therapist and one thing I have to do is have something to talk about every week. I can use this for that… and to help me get back into the habit. I need to succeed at something. I know that all my publications were successes, but I guess that’s not the same as a book. Something I could make appreciable money from. Money shouldn’t matter but it does. I don’t need to be Stephen King. I don’t think anyone else could possibly be that successful, except possibly his son. But to one day see a book I wrote on store shelves would be a huge achievement. I just wish I had someone who would share in my achievement and be proud of me. That should be Brian but I don’t know that he would, or if he was, that he would bother letting me know. And I kind of need to know. I need that encouragement to keep going. I miss the friends I had. Wendy… long dead. Tara… who may as well be. I keep hoping she’ll return but that hope fades every year. She is family, no matter how pissed off we might be with each other. I don’t know if she feels that way… I doubt it, but it’s true. I can hate what she’s done but not hate her.