My very sweet mother (who reads this blog religiously, every day) thinks I’m being too hard on myself. Funny, I never see it that way. I just see it as having high expectations and an equally high threshold for self-imposed guilt. But we should never disregard a mother’s advice or words of wisdom, so I’m giving her concern some thought.
It’s hard not to think I let myself get away with quite a bit. Take those submissions, for example. How long have I been working on them…the bio, the cover letters, the research, the revisions…but have I actually submitted anything recently? A meek “no” or resounding silence…they both amount to the same result. What am I afraid of? Being successful? Not in this case. I can taste and feel the anticipated thrill of finally get a short story published. What I’m afraid of is failing…of doing this imperfectly…of making some fatal error. But imperfect has to be better than never doing it…and the self-loathing (and a mother’s worry) that comes with it. As for the fear…that constant companion…a friend of mine has suggested that we are not supposed to try and eradicate fear from ourselves, but to accept its presence. We should see that it’s there, acknowledge it, and still move forward.
As declared last night, I reread my About page, as a way to remind myself why I’m on this blogging journey, what I enjoy about it, and what I should realistically expect from myself for the next 300 days.
“Every day I will commit to doing one thing, anything, that makes me feel like a writer’s life is not just a distant dream, but part of my reality, here and now. And then, I’ll document this thing. Some days it will simply be revamping my writing space, dusting off my “writerly” briefcase, or going for a walk to think through an idea. Other days it will be submitting a query letter to an agent, going to a public reading, or hosting a writers’ group. And many days it may just be playing—the important act of keeping the creative well filled…with evenings at the piano, trips to thrift shops, hours practicing languages I will never use. But regardless of what it is, I will do it and note it here.”
Then I read a bit of The Artist’s Way, a section that approaches anger, not as an enemy (like sloth, apathy and despair) but as a trusted friend who actually reveals our hearts’ true desires by telling us when we’ve been betrayed and when it’s time to act. Finally, I listed what writerly thing I will do each day…at least through Friday. I have the perfect evening ahead…random appetizers & leftover wine, possible chance of rain, and time all to myself (with kitty assistants, of course). If all I do tonight is submit my short story to ONE of those literary magazine on my spreadsheet, I will have this ship back on course, feel better about myself, and make my mom happy.