I’ve been particularly blah about blogging this weekend. We’ll blame the malaise on my unwelcome monthly (or semi-monthly as the case may be) visitor. Truth be told, though, I’ve felt drawn to blog more, but I’ve had nothing remotely interesting to blog about. It’s been quite the mundane weekend with little to provide writing material. My funny teacher stories have been exhausted for the moment. And it’s been daunting to find something captivating enough to evoke a comment. Blogland has been so quiet this weekend. I know it happens every weekend, but it still catches me off guard when a whole weekend passes without my counter moving at all–except for all the hits I give it, checking to see if anybody else might have stopped by.
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I need affirmation from others about my writing, even when it’s just stupid stuff like recounting my stories of “entelligent” students? I never cared what other people thought of my writing when it was just journaling for myself or jotting down story ideas. As long as I never thought people would see it, it didn’t matter what people might think.
Which leads me to the only topic I can think to elaborate on tonight. This is very personal to me, and I’m incredibly sensitive about it, so please keep that in mind if you choose to make a comment. I just finished yet another book, and somehow this book more than many of the others I’ve read in the past few months has struck that writer’s nerve within me. A secret dream of mine has always been to be a writer (as so many bloggers claim), yet I always hesitate to try my hand at it. A few years ago, though, I took a crack at starting a novel. I had an idea that I somehow knew without a doubt was a winner. I got about fifty pages into it when I got stuck. I’d written in my head an outline of the rest of the novel, so I knew where I was going with it. But I couldn’t get myself past that stuck point to get to the rest of it. I abandoned it.
But the idea wouldn’t go away. Then my life unexpectedly took an interesting turn, one the main characters in my novel were grappling with just before I abandoned it. If the novel idea wouldn’t leave me before, you can be sure it has plagued me since. I understand much better how to write the story. I know what my characters would think, how they would act. I’ve honed the story itself in my mind, making it much more realistic. The novel is all but written.
I still have a problem, however. Even though nearly every word is written in my head, I can’t seem to put that first word to paper (or blank computer screen). It’s as though if I put even one word of the story in print, I would be forced to finish it or prove myself a failure yet again. And what if I do finish the story, but it’s not written to my satisfaction? I might as well be a failure in that situation too. That’s quite likely too; I have been proud of only a very few pieces I have ever written.
My biggest fear, though? I know where the story is going. If after writing that first little section, my life itself followed suit, it is possible my life could mirror the rest after it is written. The story is a powerful one, but one I only want fictional characters to ever have to experience. I don’t want to have to go through all the pain involved to fully understand the situations the characters go through. I don’t want this novel to end up in print and then turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I see books, writing itself, as cathartic. Books are written to impart some lesson, some truth about life. They teach these lessons to readers who are willing to glean them without having to live such tragic lives themselves. Doesn’t it defeat the purpose to be forced to live such a life in order to impart those lessons?
I’ll agree all this is simple paranoia. Someday I’ll defeat my fear of failure and give the writing thing a real shot. In the meantime, though, I’ll be praying that my life is not destined to follow the same path as the fictional characters writing the story of their lives in my head.