Keeping my eyes on my own paper

Posted 15 February, 2010 by DLWhite in Random, Writers Write 0 Comments

I hestitate to even type this, because it seems like a reverb of posts before it… things I’m gonna do, things I want to do, goals I want to hit, blah blah blah. I guess this is another one of those posts, because the things I want to do aren’t getting done.

I had to admit to a friend yesterday that I was jealous of her. There she was, minding her own business, when an opportunity to write a column opened up and she went for it. She hasn’t spent the last 2 years honing her craft, writing hundreds of thousands of words, poring over her writing, worrying over content, biting nails over reviews, tearing her hair out over being ‘good enough’. She just….inquired. And was hired.

Her first article was printed yesterday. Nationwide release. It’s fabulous. I love her and I’m WILDLY proud of her but also so jealous I could spit nails and mad. At myself.

Because, while I waste time lamenting about ‘not feeling like writing’ and ‘not having ideas’, other people are just going for it. Seeing what happens. I have such a huge fear of rejection and disappointment and such a need to control the situation that I don’t even want to send anything in unless it’s perfect. Then I fester over it and tear it apart and put it back together and love it and then hate it the next day and decide not to do anything with it. The first contest I ever entered, I was shaking when I submitted it.

So I’m sitting there, looking at her byline, with her name all in print and I’m almost in tears, because I feel like I am doing nothing. And then I make myself stop that, because………..well, that’s true. I am doing nothing.  So DO something. Do all that stuff you keep saying you’re going to do and are ‘working toward’. EFF the working– Do or do not. There is no try.

Either I have to get off my proverbial ass and start writing things, and start submitting things, and stop caring about whether or not they’ll be loved or hated or rejected, or I have to be happy where I am– writing what I want, when I want to write it, with no real deadlines or articles or people breathing down my neck, down to the wire.

No matter what I do, I have to do what is best for me. When I look around at magazines that are looking for writers, I don’t see a niche I fit in. I could not care less about fashion or gossip; my music tastes are decidedly schizophrenic, haphazard, and are more a jumble of nostalgia than a music collection; I’m not a guru of anything; my finances are too laughable to write anything based on money… I can’t just up and decide that I need to be a columnist because it happened for someone else. I’m not a columnist. I’m a fiction writer.

I have such a hard time seeing all these young faces doing things, and BEING things at such young ages. Editors and writers and freelancers, some before they turn 25!  I will be 36 in just over a month. I’m a glorified secretary who fancies herself a website copywriter, who comes home and types into the darkness, who makes up stories based on real people for a subset of fiction readers. I can’t decide if that’s something I should be proud of or if I should work to change it. Even if it’s something that I enjoy, if I’m jealous of where other people are in their lives, then maybe I should focus more on work than play. More on what I must do than what I want to do. More on things I should be writing instead of the indulgent, fun writing. And maybe it gets to all be indulgent fun writing after ahwile.

I just know that I feel kind of fail-y right. I feel like I am going nowhere and I am about nothing.

I did some searching today on places where I can submit short stories. Making a list, setting some goals. Now all I have to do is write the stories. And submit them. And hope for the best.

Pen in hand,


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