So, I’ve slowly allowed myself to entertain the idea of pursuing a career in writing. I still don’t know how exactly I am going to do this, but I’m trying. When I started this blog several years ago, it was because I wanted to write. I thought this was the easiest way to try it. If no one read it, oh well. If someone left me a nasty comment, I could delete it.
I just entered week three of an online creative writing course and so far it’s going… OK. It’s got me writing, so I suppose it’s a success so far. I’m having a lot of trouble silencing my inner critic, though. I’m hyper-critical of myself (although I suppose we’re all like that) and although I have ideas, I have a hard time putting them down on paper (keyboard?) even if I’m the only one reading them. Each lesson has a writing exercise that we can either keep private or share with the group — the group of 100+ people, I might add — and then there is an assignment that we’re supposed to post for everyone to read.
I find myself reading through the entire lesson first and thinking ALL day about how I can make my exercises “perfect,” even though I know I won’t post them for anyone to read. Then I go over the assignment in my head until it’s “perfect” before I let anyone read my work. Then I compulsively reload the page a million times to see if I’ve received any comments. I check back constantly to see if anyone has given me any feedback. I automatically assume that my post will be at the bottom of the page because everyone else is better and has elicited more praise for their writing. I compare my work to theirs, chastising myself for writing what I did and not doing a better job. I find myself getting jealous of people I don’t even know, wishing I could write like them.
I do this with my blog as well (and pretty much everything else in my life…). I so desperately want this, to be a successful writer, but I can’t stop tearing myself down about it either. I have an idea for a novel, but I can’t bring myself to write down more than a couple scribbles in a notebook because what if it’s not any good? What if no one likes it? What if I write it and no one wants to publish it? I don’t know how to silence my inner critic and give myself the freedom to JUST WRITE without worrying what people will think or post in response. I know that writing is hard work and that most authors spend years upon years trying to get published. Logically, I understand this. Emotionally, I am struggling between wanting to try and not wanting to get hurt.