To be full of doubt.
This thread was sparked by a conversation with a friend. The particulars of the conversation are not necessarily important, but the idea of self-doubt is.
I'm in the middle of 2 books right now...reading them (not writing them--don't get too excited). I just started one and am in the home stretch of the other. The focus of both is really just kind of getting the brain re-wired in to living a happy fulfilled life.
What's funny is...when I'm telling stories, I'm happy. Taking pictures (I'm really loving the instant camera these days). Playing music (all guitars in my apartment are tuned but probably need strings changed--baby steps). But mostly writing.
Writing really gets me jazzed. I play/make music. I take photographs. Those are things I do. But if someone were to ask me how I saw myself, the answer would unequivocally be "writer."
Which...is funny. Really. Because I'm not published. I'm not famous. People aren't standing in line for my signature on the title page, cheesy grin on the dust jacket.
Thing is...those things still won't make me a writer. That's just the bullshit that comes along with it. If it's only the 17 of you loyal readers stopping by here every day to see what's fallen out of my brain bucket and getting a little smile or knowing nod before you go about your day, then, as a writer I have made it.
The point of being a writer (in my humble opinion) is to find an outlet for all the craziness swirling around in my brain and somewhere along the way take the rest of you along for the ride.
You may love it...you may hate it...but you will somehow be moved by the experience.
At least that's what I tell myself when I'm not too busy battling the doubt-bug.
One of the happiest days of my life is when I figured out my particular arrangement of words could actually move someone. It was only a split second after that I was wracked with a horrible nagging doubt. Could I make a living off of writing? Was I any good? Did I have what it takes to actually see a full length novel through from page one to the end?
As I sit here, looking at those questions that always seem to be the stumbling block for me--along with the defacto There's never really enough time to sit down and get in to my writing 'groove.' I realize the questions are just red-herrings. Meant to distract me.
Let me just address these one-off. Because I've thought a lot about them and come to the conclusion that they are bullshit excuses to slow me down from doing what I love to do.
Could I make a living off of writing?
Why not? Many people have. If the goal of my writing is to make money, I'm sure I could. But is that really the goal? No. It's to tell stories that are in my head. And there are many of them. So...yeah. Can I? Probably. Do I care if I do or not? No. Not yet.
So, that's not a deal breaker. Moving on.
Am I a good writer?
Unfortunately, from everything I've come across...this question (plug in any profession/passion besides wrtiting) requires some sort of external validation. And that sucks balls. Can I tell a good story? You bet your ass I can. Will millions of people want to read it? No friggin' clue. People have told me they love my writing. That this little old blog is a high point in their day. Whether I'm a good writer or not, THAT is the feedback that fuels the fingers to continue to connect to the keys.
Again, no deal breaker there.
I'm gonna combine the last two.
Do I have what it takes to write a full page novel? Where do I find the time?
The answer to both of these questions actually reside in the blog you are currently reading.
I seem to find the time almost every day, certainly several times a week to hack out a tidbit of 500-1500 words for my own (and hopefully your) amusement. Let's say that each of these blog posts is 1,000 words. That means in 2012, over the course of the year I wrote 75,000 words. In 2013, that rose to 96,000 words. It's only May and I'm already at 44,000 words (on average, of course).
But Todd, why the crap does THAT matter?
Simple. The average first novel is 60,000-80,000 words.
So...not only have a I made the time for that the last several years, I have also hit that word count each year. Just think. If I write one page of that novel a day, I'll have the first draft written in 60 days.
SO doable. This blog is proof. I'm writing and reading the proof that I am a writer. And so are you.
Why the doubt, then?
I wish I had an answer. I really do. But I don't. There are days when I wake up and the only thing I can think about as I ghost through the motions of the day is that I NEED to be writing. And days where I look at the laptop and think, "No fucking way I can pound out my name, let alone a blog post." And then something happens. I sit down and start to write about how I have absolutely nothing to write about and blammo--there it is. Another 1000 words.
It's nuts. Hell, I'm nuts. But I'm OK with that.
After all, it makes for a heck of a story.
*Note: This will make more sense after you read the guest post on the Books By Violet Blog. Hang tight until then my regular readers. Fo...
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