How dare I think I can do this
July 23, 2014 2:11 AM Subscribe
I want to write. But I have all kinds of Big Dumb Issues around it. Help me stop sabotaging myself?
I'm in my mid-20s now. I was branded as A Good Writer in elementary school, and all throughout school I consistently performed well in any class which involved writing nonfiction, including any classes in which essays were required but especially English class. My writing was always commented on and singled out by teachers, and several of them encouraged me to pursue writing further. I studied journalism, and eventually went on to a nonprofit job which is 75% writing and editing of technical documents and promotional copy.
I rarely write for pleasure/myself. This is because I fear/'know' that I have nothing to say and anything I produce for myself will be garbage. I took a couple of fiction writing classes in high school and college and what I produced in those classes was pretty much shit. I never carve out any time to write because my perception is that there would be no point, I should have/would have started doing this 10 years ago if I was really "meant" to be a writer, and who the fuck am I even kidding with this. Sometimes I imagine being a successful writer and them I feel embarrassed, it seems about as realistic as imagining myself in the Olympics or NASA. I imagine myself mostly writing personal essays and sci-fi, and then I think "the world has more than enough shitty personal essays and what makes you think you have any original ideas for sci-fi anyways?"
I have all these ideas which exist in my head and nowhere else, and I feel so pathetic both for not having the courage to write them down AND for having the audacity to think I SHOULD write them down, if that makes any sense.
I have been paid for my writing occasionally- a few freelance journalism articles, dabbling in erotica self-publishing, and stuff like Textbroker where you write copy. Since none of these things is a passion project for me, and since they're allowed to not be brilliant, it's a little easier to do them. (I still don't actively carve out time to do this stuff, though.) Similarly, I am pretty good at the writing aspects of my job. Sometimes I tell myself that that's good enough.
Surprise surprise, there is also a personal/family aspect to all this, in that my father is a retired editor who never got anything significant of his own published and who has one or two incomplete novels lying around. When we talk, he always asks if I've written anything lately. I think he wants me to succeed where he sees himself as having failed. Hello pressure.
I don't know what the hell to do about any of this. I feel like it's too late and I should just give up on this idea entirely; but then I feel like I'm wallowing in self-pity so I don't have to actually try; but then I think if I REALLY wanted to be a writer I already would be, because "writers write" as they say, so if I haven't been doing it all along then there's no point in trying at this stage.
Snap me out of this? I feel like such a fucking idiot. How can I stop with all of this and actually... just try to do this? I feel like I've been "trying to try" for years and years and making no progress at all.