I know I'm not the first person to talk about that stupid little voice that chirps in my ear. "You suck. You're not good enough. You can't write. You're a failure. Why bother? Ugh, that sentence was terrible. Delete delete delete." But I think lately I'd let it take over - I'd let it be more than chirping, I'd let it be squawking, yelling, screaming. I kind of gave in to it.
My background is in writing. I knew I wanted to be a poet or writer when I was in fourth grade - I remember it so clearly. My BA is in English, with a focus on creative writing. My MA is in writing, literature, and publishing.
But what I love writing is not what pays the bills. I've always understood that but I hate it. I like writing...this. I like writing blogs, first-person accounts, poetry. I'm not good at fiction (and forever envious at my friends and peers who dash off book after book after book) although I think that goes back to a very specific period when I was a kid that kind of crushed that drive. Maybe it can be uncrushed, I don't know.
So when I do write for money, which can mean anything from a search-optimized webpage to a fun and interesting piece that I'm excited about but that also will be read by more than ten people, that voice just ROARS AT ME.
In the past few weeks I got two amazing emails. One was from my new editor/friend for whom I'm writing a weekly column (about coupons!) and another weekly roundup about real estate (mostly just a list, not really anything to write). She sent me an unsolicited pep talk. She told me that she doesn't have to edit what I write, and she told me I'm a good writer. It feels funny even writing that here - like...I'm bragging? I don't know. But it's one of those frameable emails, seriously. And then one of my dearest, most beloved friends, someone whose opinion I totally trust and who I know will be honest with me, sent me the most amazing words about a short piece I wrote for potential inclusion in a book. A piece that was totally out of my comfort zone - sort of a prosey poem, definitely longer than I usually write (and 1/3 the length of what it should be, but I think we'll just go with it).
I can write. I can. It's my passion. It's what I do. I'm hoping that starting in August, when my kid goes to school for a very full day, I can write write write and get paid for it again. I can also do editing and proofreading - things I don't love but that I also know I'm good at (although thanks to a bitchy boss, I definitely lost my way on those talents as well).
I'm rambling. Even this blog entry isn't exactly what I want to say. I think I need to go re-read Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones and a few other you-can-do-it-just-do-it books. I need to find my way again. I hope that that prosey piece and the column I write will help.
Also you're reading this blog. And that's nice.