The Fragile, Fallible Writing Ego

Have you ever hit a block–one that isn’t exactly a writer’s block, but more of a confidence block? That’s where I’m sitting right now. I’ve been binging on media lately, which means I’m watching a lot of TV.

One of my favorite shows [with the worst airing schedule in the universe–pun status is: “unintended, but not unwelcome”] is premiering a new episode daily until mid-August, and it is consuming my brain currently. I just came out of season 3 of Sailor Moon Crystal, binged all of Gravity Falls, and ReLIFE; but this show destroying what is left of me. There are so few well-written shows nowadays, and the ones that are done right are just… explosively right. And despite the fact that a novel is a completely different medium from a TV show, I still sit here and think, “I will never be that good. I will never write anything remotely that good. Dammit.

After that, moving my cursor across the blank page becomes the most arduous task in the world. Even if I want to write–even if I’ve been excited to work on a scene–it’s beyond me. I don’t know if all authors have this issue, or if they just push through it until it’s gone. If I try to work through it, all that comes out is drivel. Letting Future Me “clean it up in editing” results in Future Me having to rewrite all of Past Me’s crap.

Meanwhile, my chronic illness is getting worse and some days I can’t even think well enough to handle staring at a wall much less write. So when I have a good day, and I want to write but can’t, I just make it worse by berating myself for not being able to take the opportunity. Thus, I watch TV, and… it’s a horrible cycle that just keeps going.

What stops it? A perfect storm–a good day health-wise where something within a show, book, or game stands out and sets off a spark of creativity inside of me; something that whispers that maybe everything I write isn’t trash, and that I can do this because I am the only one who can tell my story the way it needs to be told.


5 thoughts on “The Fragile, Fallible Writing Ego

  1. My confidence in writing is up down and all around, so I know what you mean. Some days I feel good about my work, and other days I feel like I’m a horrible writer. It sucks.

  2. While my main source of writing is via my blog, I have dabbled with script writing and short stories, and it is really quite hard. Yet, like with everything else in life I think it is helpful to remember that comparing what you’ve written with others is a futile task. There’s a difference between being inspired by someone’s writing, and fretting over whether yours will ever compares to their work – the truth is you can only write the best you can.

    Don’t forget that successful writers all had to start somewhere. They are all only human, no matter how big a name they are. They were, and still are, susceptible to the same feelings of guilt, anger and self criticism as you.

    I really appreciated the last line of this entry. It reminded me that all of our lives are unique, and our writing reflects that. Just keep persevering with what you do and you’re sure to get somewhere. If you give up you will never know if you could have hit the jackpot. Just like if you give up on trying to find a way to manage/treat your mental illness, you will never know if something that could have worked was right round the corner. A lesson I nearly myself recently funnily enough.

    I really hope none of this comes across as patronising! It’s just my mindset now when it comes to life and all of its complexities 🙂

    1. Not patronizing at all! Even the most successful writers have people who don’t like their work, and never will. Sadly, we give more weight to negative feedback than we do to the positive. [When it should be the other way around!] So if those are the only voices you hear when starting out, and you add your own inner voice to it, it’s easy to see why some fledgling writers get discouraged.

      Think of all the amazing stories that will never get told because some writers gave up too soon! I can’t let myself fall into that hole; but sometimes I let myself sit on the edge and stare into it anyway. It always feels good when I can stand up and walk away. [I hope that makes sense.]

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