They’re days and then they are days--days when I feel like I’ll never write again, never get another good idea, never turn said good idea into a decent story. Days when I look back at the piles of crappy first drafts and false starts and wonder if I’ve really gotten any better. Days when I see that I’ve whined about it all so many times before and nothing changed and, yep, my blog’s going completely to pot…
And after those days I almost always remember that the problem isn’t with my ideas, or even with my writing ability (or lack thereof). The problem is that I’m scared--terrified--of failure. Ten seconds after getting a good idea I’m counting all the possible ways I could screw it up.
I’ve never been much of a perfectionist with anything but my writing. And I’m not scared of criticism as much as I’m scared of my own abilities to fix the problems in my writing. I want my stories to be the best they can be--what happens when I can’t make them any better?
The thing is, there will be projects I can’t fix. I’ve written duds before and I’ll write them again.
So what I have to keep telling myself, because I never remember it for very long, is that it’s okay to fail and goof up and make mistakes. It’s okay to share imperfect work. And it’s much, much better to risk writing junk than to write nothing at all. I used to look at other people (writers and artists) and wonder how they produced so much good work so consistently. Now I don’t think it’s necessarily because they’re better than me (they are, but that’s not the point…) but because they’re willing to take their new ideas and try them out, even though odds are some of them will end up at the bottom of a wastepaper basket.
But not all of them.
I’m going to write again. I’m tired of stressing because I’ll never be as good as I want to be, and I’m tired of wasting good ideas because I’m afraid they won’t work. I want to write what I love whether it ends up being any good or not. At least I’ll be getting something down on paper, and at least I’ll have fun doing it.