slow.

It’s so easy to feel crazy as a “writer”. It’s hard to even call myself that without inwardly rolling my eyes. How do I really know that? Then there’s the fact that it doesn’t pay at this stage. So I don’t do it as much as I’d like. This morning I woke up at six, giddy as a kid who’s gorging on the spoils of halloween, because I actually had an hour of free time to write. By the time I’d made tea, washed a couple of the most egregious dishes from last night, and told that voice to shut up (the voice that whispered over my shoulder how I’d never write another book, how this character is all wrong, how I should be working on something more important than this project) I had about half an hour left.
It was nice. I turned the computer off and wrote by hand. Then the alarm went off and I stole another 15 minutes. It’s so frustrating that I’ve been working so hard all day at work and only got to do what I really love for 45 minutes. I cannot cannot cannot explain to you how frustrating that is. How hard it was to stop when I finally got going.
Then I spent a chunk of today checking my email over and over again, to see if perhaps my agent had written with any word. A friend of mine called in the morning. While the phone was ringing, I pleaded with the heavens for it to be my agent. No such luck.
In a bored moment at work, I googled an old friend. Turns out she’s on the NYC literary scene, at a very prestigious MFA program. One that rejected me. I didn’t even know she was a writer. I looked at said program’s faculty. They’re extremely illustrious, extremely famous. I remember how shut out I felt from that world, like a kid eschewing the true friendship of the friend next door in favor of the popular kids, just waiting for the blessing of that brilliant attention. I still feel that way in many ways.
I know that I have a lot to be grateful for, and I should keep my mouth shut and not complain. A year ago I wasn’t even this well off when it comes to literary success. But I wish sometimes that I could happen across a blog that addressed these very topics honestly — how difficult it is to be an artist, and how much self-doubt I get mired in because I haven’t yet been told I’m good enough by the right people, or enough of them, or something.
This is a very unromantic and frustrating career in many ways. Who’s to say it will ever be anything but what it is right now?
I try hard to tell myself that I deserve things: I deserve to be intellectually stimulated at work, I deserve to do something interesting, I deserve to have nice things, I deserve love, I deserve to be a succesful writer. Really, if I don’t constantly remind myself, I totally forget, having grown up without in a lot of ways.
I remind myself: One notch above chaos doesn’t have to be my status quo. I’m pressing forward with great intention, but it seems my intention is awfully slow. My progress is slow. I’m easily distracted, undisciplined, constantly tired.
I guess the best I can do right now is to keep plodding along and remind myself that the work is the most important thing, and it always will be. I have to be able to write in obscurity with the joy of the work at the center of my practice.


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