This has proved to be the hardest part; this belief in one’s self as a writer. I once started a journal with: “I don’t know what to write.” The rest of the journal remained blank. I don’t journal well.
I fight with myself as a writer every single day. I reject this self-imposed isolation. I hate it. I don’t want to do it. I don’t know how not to.
It doesn’t help that my insecurities are fueled by difficulties getting published. Every time I receive a rejection, it sets me back, and I have to begin all over again, Sisyphus rolling this rock back up the hill. I am getting older, waiting to get that rock up that hill.
I’ve learned too, through the years, that the quiet writers need has a dark side; we also need responses, we need to know others read our writing. The answer is, we need readers who feel engaged with our material, but the challenge is, how to inspire and motivate the reader (without using extrinsic motivation, like schoolmasters of yore used a cane to beat recalcitrant writers?).
The blogosphere-world has exploded, and it’s literally impossible to read and respond to everything you see. I know that when I read something someone has put time and effort into, I can’t always be counted on to respond with the truth—to say, wow, no one will read this, you’ve found yourself a subject that’s bound to turn others off! Or to find time to compliment the writer who has managed to come up with a compelling subject, who I want to read over and over again.
I’ve had to force myself, in the past year or so, to be sure to comment on people’s blogs. This is why I limit how many blogs I read, and I don’t follow many. The greatest irony for me—someone who wants more than anything to encourage writers—is that it isn’t possible to encourage every writer I see (and then sit and wonder why no one is encouraging me!). It feels overwhelming to use each blog experience as a “teaching moment,” to tell them, the way I tell myself, alright, too much detail, excessive vocabulary, you’re losing your audience… etc. All the things that go wrong, go wrong in my head before they go wrong in the writing.
I rationalize: I shouldn’t need encouragement, should I?
Oh, but I do.
- The Writer’s LIfe (revjanice.wordpress.com)
- Motivation and some strategies for enhancing motivation (peltjournal.wordpress.com)
- Why unsuccessful writers give the best advice (salon.com)
- Levels of “No,” or Why I Reject Manuscripts (nepheletempest.wordpress.com)
- Damn Those “Nos”! (ladyinthehouse.net)
- Why not be a writer? (hgrobert.com)