Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Doing this for me

I spent a lot of time this afternoon thinking about writing and about how it hasn't been fun for me recently. I've been too wrapped up in worrying about what other people will think of my work, and as a result, I've become paralyzed, unable to write a single word without analyzing it and second-guessing it. I delete more words than I write, and my inner critic tells me that none of my ideas are interesting, that my prose is flat, that no one will ever want to read--much less publish--anything I write. This thinking has gone on for at least a couple of months now, bringing so much insecurity and fear with it.

Today I decided that I was no longer going to let these negative thoughts keep me from doing what I enjoy. I made the following declaration this afternoon, via Twitter:

Decided the only reason to write is because I love it. Worrying about who else will like it stifles me. I need to do this for me. #amwriting

Do this for me. For me.

I can't let worrying about not being good enough keep me from putting words on the page. I can't keep listening to my inner critic as she tells me that I'm no good and should just quit. If I love writing--and I do--then I have to do it for that reason: for the love of it. If other people like it, that will be a bonus. If I can get some of my fiction published someday, that will be wonderful, a very proud moment, I'm sure. But I learned today that writing with my eyes solely on publication--concerned only with what other people think--doesn't work for me. I'm happiest when I'm doing my 100-word exercises, which I once did as mere writing warm-ups but have recently been taking more time with and really contemplating what I want to say. I don't know what that means or where those little snippets can take me. I only know that I enjoy writing them, and I have to let that kind of enjoyment spill over into the projects I'm working on: the collection of short stories I'm planning; my young adult novel about Jed; my NaNoWriMo project, if I choose to do one this year... The bottom line is, I need to write because I want to. I have to do it for me and no one else.

I'm not giving up my dream of publication. That's still something I want very much. I just realize now that I can't place all my focus on that dream. I can't make it the only reason I write. First, I have to write for me, and as I realized today, that's really all that matters.


  1. Rock on! This is exactly right. By embracing this, you're allowing yourself the freedom to grow into becoming an even better writer. ♥

  2. Deb: Thanks! I sure hope so. This paralyzing feeling of not being able to write has gone on for way too long.