I have been fuffing around for about 6 months.
I’ve not written anything new, other than editing and re-editing the first 3 chapters of the ’Love Project’ with the purpose of sending it out to a few literary agents and launch it on its way to stardom. The 3 submissions became 3 rejections. The words ’your writing not being outstanding’ ringed in my ears for many weeks. What started out as an exciting and natural progress – I had taken the year to experience and write it and now I was selling it! – became an emotional and difficult task. I realised that I have a pathological fear of rejection.
In fact, what I find interesting is that exactly a year ago I was dealing with rejection in love. A year ago I was facing my biggest fears in love. Now I’m going to a very similar sequence of emotions about my writing. Isn’t it ironic?
I have been very moody and generally not a very nice person in the last few months. I’ve missed the writing but I had hit a serious block. The old fear that ’I am not good enough’ peeked its ugly head right into my face. What the hell was it doing there? I thought we had already reached a understading that it wasn’t true, that everyone gets rejections, that it’s just a natural part of the process and that fear is not an option. But, boy, oh boy, that nasty fear broke our truce and it was staring me right in my face.
’What did you think, silly? You write like a highschool girl, nobody would be interested in reading your silly journal. Give IT up!’ it would say to me.
And I did. And I became even more unhappy. I threw myself in other activities, I spent most of my time working on anything I could work on, so I could give myself excuses that I was too busy to write. I was successfully asphyxiating my biggest dream in life!
Until one day when I got a slap on the face. And the next day I got a kick in the ass!
Some people in my life noticed what was going on with me and started asking me some inconvenient questions.
’What are you waiting for?’
’Why are you giving up?’
’What are you afraid of?’
I was afraid of failure.
’Boo hoo’ said my boyfriend. ’If they say fuck you, say fuck you too!’
’But what if they’re right? What if my writing is bad?’
’First of all, you didn’t try hard enough. You sent it out to three people and decided it was enough. Wait until you hear it from 20 people that your writing is crap.’
Hmmm, he made perfect sense. But I wasn’t making sense in my head. ’Your writing not being outstanding’ was still haunting me as if the only truth about my writing. I had forgotten all about those who loved it. I had forgotten all about those who are looking forward to reading the rest of it. I had forgotten that the writing path is not an easy one. And that success only happens after many failures. And that the only way we ever really fail is when we give up.
I didn’t like what I was hearing. I had resolved it with myself that I would postpone having to face the music again. But I seem to be the kind of person who really needs a kick up the behind to get into gear.
Today I wrote again. And I like what I wrote. Maybe I’m ready to start again after all.