For the last few days, I’ve been thinking about a writing prompt. I have the outline of a story in my head.
I also have the distinct feeling of failing-before-I’ve-begun. The blank page of my notebook is staring at me, mocking me, daring me to mar its face with shitty writing. And the calendar seems to be losing days at an accelerated rate; the deadline will be here before I know it.
Normally, I get at least a third of the way through a project before I start questioning whether or not it’s any good or if it sounds exactly like something else I’ve read or written.
My Inner Critic is alive and well and rampaging through my head. He’s making me second guess every idea I come up with, question my ability to string a sentence together, and–maybe the worst thing–he’s pulling all the fun out of writing. (He’s also making me turn this blog into something not unlike a psychiatrist’s couch where I kvetch endlessly about my neuroticism and internal woes.)
I know a good portion of the problem lies with my underemployment. I need one foot in the waking, working world. It’s becoming obvious that I don’t do well as a non-earner. That’s a long term issue (due to the lack of jobs in my field in the area in which I now live and the fact that I’m probably dismissed as overqualified for many of the part time jobs I’ve looked into).
It is what it is and it may not change any time soon.
So, I need to concentrate on what I can more fully control: the lack of writing, my entertaining of my Inner Critic, my deadline phobia and general fear of failure. All relatively normal parts of the writing life that are currently exacerbated.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic cure. No potion to quaff, no pill to take. No encouraging words that will make the problem disappear. There’s just blood and sweat and tears. And the occasional screaming fit.
And, though it pains me to say it, maybe I need to accept the idea of failure. Accept that I probably won’t meet this particular deadline under these particular circumstances. And that it’s not the end of the world. Because even if I met the deadline, that doesn’t mean my story would have a home.
After all, it’s said that acceptance leads to change. Once the idea of failure is not such a bogeyman in my head, maybe I’ll get through the blockade and start writing again.
What do you think?