Monday, June 25, 2012

Writing Just To Make Right

      The novelty of writing has worn off. I have slowed way down on submitting to publishers. I kind of feel like I have a good project going, but then I read over it when in a "not so hot mood", and I think, "Nobody will want to read this stuff. Blah, blah, blah."

     But I have heard that writers write even when they don't feel it. In fact, they write especially when they don't feel like writing. I have also heard that the middle part of a project is the most gruelling. The middle is tedious, taxing, boring, flat, and middling. Is that a word? Like middle school, which is where the heart of my current project takes place... in teenage angst.

     I'm in that place where I question if I should be doing this at all. I wonder, "Who cares?"  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith is one of my favorite books. I relate to Francie's under the radar  existence. I find her self-esteem in line with my own at that age. I understand her family dynamics. I even get the culture that is Brooklyn. Not because I lived there, but because I know of people who have, and later moved to South Florida in search of the sun. I feel in common with that tenement sort of living where the story takes place.
      I grew up in apartments and rental low-lying stucco houses all over Broward County. Just last night I counted all the schools and found where I attended first and second grade. Bennett Elementary still stands as a traditional brick school with many steps leading up to the front intimidating doors opening to high ceilings and cavernous halls, (especially in the eyes of a six year old.)  When visiting nostalgia, I ponder my accuracy. I went to five elementary schools. I have one friend who shares those memories, besides my sister, Kirsten.
      So there. It is confirmed. These things did happen. I didn't imagine them and the buildings are still there to prove it. In the mouth of three witnesses. Well four, if you count my Mom.

     I realize that through all this recollection, I've formed a pattern when it comes to monumental decisions. They are not real until I tell someone about them. Even though things will develop, whether I discuss them or not, they just don't seem real until I open my mouth and communicate. Take for instance learning when I was pregnant, all those six times. Each time was huge. Each one was life-changing. But it wasn't until I told Rob, or my sister, or my Mom, that we were expecting did it seem a reality.

Now here I am writing. Somehow it doesn't seem real, like I'm just dabbling. I've had two essays published, but I still don't think or feel like a writer. I want to be thought of as a writer, oh, how I do! Like when I was a swimmer, and people thought of me as a swimmer. Or a mother. That is one identity that will stand the test of time, and I am glad and proud of that. I feel like I'm standing on a precipice where I have a choice. I can jump, turn around and walk away, or even take the less treacherous narrow lane in obscure baby steps.

I recently read a quote by a woman writer, (I can't remember who) who said, "In writing, you either tell everyone, or no one." I think it depends on a personality of a writer or whether he or she is an extrovert or introvert. For me, it challenges me to commit, like keeping a promise. I don't want to be one of those people who talks about doing stuff but doesn't follow through.

I know for sure that I don't want to walk away. I want to keep writing.

Come to think of it, I'll try to look at the middle part with more optimism. The middle is difficult because it should serve as the central part of the piece... the eye-level feature. 

So even if it is stuff, I'll remain a scribbler. I'll try to refine my chicken scratch in calligraphic stroke. If I turn out a bound book with a pretty cover, that will be great! If friends read it and comment, "Oh, you are such a good writer," that will be terrific! If someone who I never meet reads my book and thinks, I can relate, than that is all the better.

It is truly worth writing.


  1. I'm right beside you, even jealous of you, at least you have something published! I want to be published more than I want to breathe...and lately that has taken a lot of effort too! I have said it before and I'll say it again, "I write because the characters in my head won't shut up until I let them out!" So they flow onward and I continue to write, which is really the easy part for me. It's the what to do when I am done writing, that leaves me sucking my thumb and feeling that continual doom and gloom, 'I am incompetent' feeling! Just know you are not alone! Women of might, women of courage...women who will not give up on our dream! Keep it going, you can do it!

    1. I emailed you, Wendy. Oh, writer envy, it's a dangerous thing. By your statement, "I want to be published more than I want to breathe," says you are a writer.
      The sucking thumb show me instead of tell me is another give-away. Thanks for the encouraging comment.
      And you too! Write On!!!

      In Writing, Susan <3