I was over my father and sister’s house for my father’s birthday and naturally the usual questions are asked, such as “what have you been doing?” and “have you finished that first draft yet?“, looking for a way to cast my family’s focus away from me and my lack there of writing accomplishments, I made the mistake of mentioning my writing friend and how they’ve recently released another E-book, my sister then proceeds to interrogate me about my Metamorphosis WIP Novel Project, to which my response was “I have this amusing youtube video I’d like to show you…”
However, I ended up talking about The Lake of Tears WIP novel project instead (this one is an urban fantasy where as Metamorphosis is Science Fiction/Fantasy. Yes, I know, I have too many WIP novels), about how the religion and mythology of two of the races in my novels and how the two religions are heavily interconnected, as they both feature the same goddess but with a different face and/or name, as in one race gives the goddess in question the title of “The Great Mother” where as the other race give her the title of “The Goddess of Divine Sight” and while my sister and father were supportive, telling me “Wow, you’ve obviously put a lot of thought into this.“, I have never felt more like a Pretender-Writer (no, not that one) and less like a Real-Writer than I had in that moment.
I felt like one of those people who stand there at dinner parties and say, “Oh yes, I’ve always known I carry a book around inside me, specifically one about a Journalist whose trying to write a book and solve crime and they have a cute little dog who acts as a side-kick…” because I laugh at those people, well I mean not on the outside, but definitely on the inside, because that’s all they do, talk about it. They never actually get around to sitting down and putting pen to paper or fingers to laptop (whichever the case may be) and anyone who has met me IRL will testify to my constant ranting about how the publishing industry shouldn’t be endorsing terrible books like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, but what alternative am I providing? I criticize Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James for their internalized sexism and thinly-veiled fantasy projections and yet they have managed to do what I haven’t.
I know that it’s wrong that we live in a society that demands constant perfection and thus the vast majority of people refuse to admit to any weakness, any flaw, any form of limitation, even when it’s staring you right in face and it’s obvious to EVERY SINGLE PERSON but you. I know I struggle with confessions of hard-to-bear truths, that I cover up my emotions with Sarcasm and Self-Depreciating humor, I know I am not exceptional in this regard (I have never met a writer who doesn’t do either of those things), and while I know that I am flawed (so very flawed)
I also know that I am afraid.
So afraid and of the stupidest things. Like what if I don’t have any actual talent at writing (because a lack of talent has ever stopped anyone) and I’ve just deluded myself into thinking I have? What if everyone realizes what I phony am I? What if I’m just as bad as Stephanie Meyer? What if I’m worse than Stephanie Meyer? What am I going to do then? Because I can’t do anything else but this, this is the only thing I think I’m reasonably good at. What if I’m not successful? What I never finish a first-draft, a novel, a series? What if I’m stuck for the rest of my life in this fucking awful state of limbo where I can’t go back to pretending that the words I write don’t matter but I can’t move forward either and finish what I start?
A part of me (okay, a large part of me) doesn’t want to publish this, I don’t want to reveal this childish and terribly insecure part of myself, because I don’t anyone to think I’m fishing for compliments or reassurance, because a part of me thinks I don’t have the right to voice this, because I don’t want to appear as though I’m complaining about my lot in life, because I have so many good things I should and need to be grateful for. However that doesn’t make my fear any less real.
But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up, I know what Bravery is not the absence of Fear, but perseverance in the face of Fear, and while I don’t think of myself as a brave person, I want to be.