Friday, December 28th, 2007 • 4 Comments on Writer, Anguish
You try to teach college students what it means to find their voice and write with authenticity. All the while, you feel like your own voice is a whisper in a hurricane wind.
You search your memory, your history, your experiences for something that is uniquely you to write about. You freeze when you start to write, pulling forth nothing more than bad cliches that have been done before—and done better.
You force yourself to write, struggling with the words like they are slippery fish in a cloudy stream. You wonder if this is it—the best you can do.
The piece you wrote sells, but the editor doesn’t say anything wonderful or glowing about your writing, so you assume you are simply mediocre. Competent, but not special. Drab background to make the stars shine brighter.
You think about people reading what you’ve written and you hope someone, somewhere gets it. Gets what you meant, gets you. You doubt it’s possible, but you hope.
You try to convince yourself you really are a writer by looking at your previous credits. Only, none of them seem all that special or all that impressive. “Even a monkey can write Shakespeare,” you tell yourself, “If given enough time.”
You contemplate all the A’s you have received in various classes over the years. Excellent grades in subjects that might have led to more lucrative careers if only you weren’t so stubborn—and in love with being a writer.
You take a day—or seven—off from writing and you hate yourself for it. “Lazy,” the voice hisses. “Lazy, lousy writer.”
You write every day for a month, through insomnia and illness and holidays. You still feel lazy. You still think you’re a lousy writer.
You read something brilliant, something so meaningful it moves you to tears. You feel a sadness that is bone-deep. You will never be that good. Never.