Saturday, December 13, 2014

Identity Crisis

A couple times this month, in the heyday of doctoral studies, two jobs, mothering, being a wifey, and just generally being swept along in the insanity of life, I found a few minutes to just write.  Finally, thank God.  Moments I'd been waiting for, moments I missed so much it hurt.  It was just me and my laptop.  I'd found time to blog, or work on a new novel, or write a short story, or resurrect an old novel.  I'd found time to write, and just be me.

And then, I sat down to write, overwhelmingly thankful that I'd found the opportunity to do so...

And nothing happened.

I had nothing to write about.

This has happened to me before, but this time, it's been really bad.  (Not really bad, compared to, like, your tax bill.  Or breaking an arm.  Or accidentally trying a brussel sprout later in life, even though you're pretty sure you still hate them).  But for me, pretty bad.

I think I don't know what to write about because I don't know who I am as a writer.

I know that I am a writer.  It's strange, in any situation where writers are gathered (like at the NWP Annual Meeting, where I was given a few topics and surrounded by other writers), well, then I can write my butt off.  About anything. 

But I don't know what kind of writer I am, anymore, if I'm not given a topic and other people writing around me.  Sometimes even if you give me a topic (my husband has an ingenious idea for a novel that could definitely be a best seller, a movie, what have you, if it were done right)... I still don't know if I can do it.  Maybe it's because I've been rejected so much.  Or maybe it's because I'm still torn between humorous non-fiction and fiction, and in that fiction category, I'm all over the place, vaguely claiming to write "women's" fiction, or "commercial" fiction.  Maybe it's because that fiction is sort of Christian and sort of mainstream, and I'm wondering if it has a place anywhere.

Or maybe it's just because I have nothing good to say right now.

I could write about how happy I am.  Have you ever been so happy, that you just want to hold onto that moment so badly, because it feels like you must be dreaming?  That was me the other day, in this beautiful, every day moment, when my husband smiled at me, and simply said, "The tree looks nice."  And in that moment, hugging him in front of our Christmas tree, knowing how far we've come, how much I didn't expect to be married in this point in time, how blessed I am to have a brilliant daughter and an amazing husband, and to be so surrounded by love that it feels too fragile, too perfect to be real... Words can't describe how precious life is.

Or maybe it's because the world is still so messed up, and my happiness, or my fiction (happy or not) seems small and insignificant in comparison to Ferguson, to the protesting, to the anger and injustice and frustrations that have come bubbling back up in society.  It's a helpless feeling, to see so much hurt, so many voiceless, infuriated people, who have something to say and no one to listen.  Sometimes it feels like, why add another voice, when I don't have anything to say?

Or maybe it's just because I'm too tired to think of anything worth writing about.  And in that case, maybe I just need some coffee.

I logged on to this blog today and noticed that I updated it only once last month.  Never the less, there were 120 views.  120 clicks that cared about what I had to say.  It's humbling, that even though I wasn't saying much, people were still listening.

I hope I figure it out--what I want to say.  I've always wanted to be a writer.  And I am a writer.  But the industry beats you down.  You're left feeling uncertain after multiple rejections from agents.  The form letters that remind you that this is just a business.  The ones that hurt more are the ones that liked your work.  That compared you to someone else out there, someone who's fortunate enough to have made it.  Then they let you down anyway, saying that in spite of it's merit, your work is too this or not enough that.

And I get it.  It's just business.

But writing is so much more than that to me.

I just need to rediscover what I need to say.

Thanks for sticking with me, dear readers.



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