I’m Not a Writer

I’m not a Writer (although I do have several danger signs, based on Chuck Wendig‘s guidelines). I’m OK with this, overall, even though it’s taken me years to finally feel like it’s not something I ought to aspire to.

I remember very clearly the moment I realized I’m not a Writer. I was in a creative writing seminar with Madeleine L’Engle (how cool is that?!?) and she was talking about the stories just bursting to get out of you. As everyone around me was nodding in agreement, I was thrown for a loop. It had never occurred to me that stories, people, entire worlds existed as though separate from their potential authors, struggling to break free. My inner world, while interesting enough, was very much mine and content to stay there.

This shouldn’t have been much of a surprise–to be honest, I’ve always been better at improving existing things rather than creating them from scratch. And that’s a good skill for an editor and writing teacher who’s always dealing with other people’s existing writing.

And yet here I am, trying to blog. Man, sometimes this is tough.

It’s not that hard getting words on the page–I have plenty of opinions and, if anything, I end up saying too much in an attempt to fully explain myself. It’s hitting “publish” that kills me. Was this a good topic? Will anyone care about it? Did I come across the way I meant to? Did I explain myself well enough? What if there’s a (god forbid!) TYPO?!? How can you trust an editor who can’t even proofread her blog totally and completely in every single instance? What if a topic I write about is part of an online conversation I don’t even know is happening? Maybe I should look up my topic and read everything anyone has ever written about it ever…

And so ideas rattle around in my brain. I make lists of things I could write about. Sometimes I even type up some of my ideas. And then the paralysis sets in–it took me over a month to decide what to post as my first blog entry, and it still took outside inspiration and an arbitrary deadline to make me actually do it. If I had my way, I’d get at least 3 independent people to edit each blog entry, giving me feedback and checking for those occasional typos that my brain knows are inevitable and yet my heart takes as personal failure. (No, I don’t actually read the stuff I’ve edited once it’s in print. Why do you ask?)

Yet, not only do those wonderful people I’d ask to edit my blogs have much better things to do with their valuable time, but that whole approach goes counter to the point of a blog. So, it has typos. We’ll live. (And I’ll probably go back in and edit them later or they’ll make me twitch. But through the wonders of technology, I can do that!) Maybe I wasn’t totally clear–with luck, people will comment and we’ll start a conversation, which rather does seem like the point of a blog. Maybe other people are already talking about this–hopefully my post will become part of that conversation and I’ll know other people care about things that are also on my mind.

This will be good for me. I’ll keep telling myself that. We’ll see how it goes.

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4 Responses to I’m Not a Writer

  1. Rob Donoghue says:

    Consider yourself added to me feed reader!

    Obviously, I’m a big proponent of the sort of exercise you’re undertaking, so huzzah! And if it’s any consolation I have similar bewilderment at the “bursting forth with stories” people. It’s just weird. :)

    Anyway, good luck, and I look forward to reading much more of your not-writing-writing!

    -Rob D.

    • ayvalentine says:

      Thanks, Rob! It will be interesting to see if I can let go of my control freak obsessive verbal inclinations in this area. :)

      Amanda

  2. Cam Banks says:

    Even just talking about being neurotic about posting to your blog helps you to get the ball rolling. And really, people who visit the blog are just going to want to know what’s going on in your noggin and decide if that’s good to read about. Having a theme or a focus is obviously a good idea, though!

  3. Pingback: Yes, I’d Love Some Cheese With My Whine | ayvalentine.com

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