in which I try to conquer a mental block

So it’s been two weeks since I blogged. Not too much has happened in those two weeks. I did stuff. I went places. I wrote stuff. That’s actually what I want to talk about. Writing stuff.

This past week, I turned in my thesis proposal. My thesis is going to be a young adult novel. It will also probably be awesome. Here’s hoping for that, anyways. But this past week, when I’ve talked to friends and relatives about what’s going on in my life, I’ve said, “Oh, I’ve been working on my thesis proposal.” To which everyone immediately asks, “Oh, what’s your thesis about?” And I panic and say, “Nothing,” and then I go hide until they go away.

Because I really, really hate talking about my writing. This is a terrible thing for a writer just starting out, when you are basically the only person who talks up your own work. But I have some mental block against talking about it.

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I think this is a two-pronged problem. First of all, telling people about my writing freaks me out, because it’s like putting the concoctions from the weirdest corners of your brain on display for everyone to judge you by. Can you imagine if fifteen years ago you met a woman in a Scottish coffee shop and said, “What are you writing about?” And she said, “A kid who goes to wizard school who kills this bad guy when he’s a baby, and there’s earwax flavored jellybeans and owls deliver the mail!” You would have said, “Okay crazy,” and left. My point is that out of context, all books sound like insane ravings. And I won’t have you judging me based on my insane ravings1.

The other reason I hate talking about my writing is because I don’t really feel like I’m actually a writer. Anyone with a blank word document can call themselves a writer. So what sets those people apart from the actual writers? In my mind, it’s always been publication. I don’t like telling people I’m a writer, and I like even less telling people that I’m trying to get published. Because then I feel some sort of accountability to them. I don’t want anyone coming back to me in a year and saying “What happened to that thing you wrote you were trying to get published?” And I have to say, “Yeah, about that…I’m a failure.”

But then it was pointed out to me last weekend that saying you’re not a writer until you get something published is like saying you’re not a parent until your child moves out. And that made a lot of weird sense. I want to talk about my writing. I want to be proud of the thing I do. So my spring/summer goal is to be better at talking about my writing. This does not mean that I am going to start blogging about it in any sort of detail. And if you ask me about it, I’ll probably still run away. But here I am acknowledging that I am writing something of novel length. And I will someday maybe try and publish it. And I am hoping it won’t suck.

  1. Seriously, sometimes I say them out loud and even I think I sound insane.
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