#reverb10: Writing

The act of writing often leaves me shaking in my boots.

Putting finger to keyboard doesn’t paralyze me. Nope. It’s the fact that the product has to sound good. Innovative. I want the stuff that comes out of my head to be something that keeps a person’s interest. I want my words to resonate with the reader. I want the reader to like what I have to say. I don’t want my writing to suck.

Believe me, this is not a plea for sympathy. I know that all writers are insecure about their work. I know that as an industry, we compare ourselves to others and find our output lacking. I know that I am capable of stringing words together into sentences and crafting paragraphs out of those sentences and taking it Bird by Bird, as Anne Lamott advised.

But Babe Ruth didn’t hit it out of the park during every at-bat, and neither can I. That’s what gets me. I recently submitted an essay about my wedding planning experience to a popular blog. Even though I worked on that essay for four months, I don’t think it’s going to be published; it preaches to the people-pleaser, it complained a bit and it wasn’t a dead-on match with the style of submissions published on the website.

Other people would just get over it and write something else. But I’m a special snowflake! I have wanted to write something, anything, since I hit “Send” Tuesday morning. But I haven’t; I’ve only been able to think about how that essay won’t be published and how much my writing sucks. That doesn’t put me on the expressway toward productivity.

If you know me, you know this: I get in my own way about 99.7 percent of the time. I know it too, but it’s something I need to remind myself so I can shut my (ever so neurotic) id up and get things done. Sitting around telling myself how awful of a writer and person I am doesn’t help anyone. I need to be kinder to myself about writing. I think I can start this by re-reading Bird by Bird. If I do, who knows what you’ll see here?

(What am I doing?:Reverb 10 (#reverb10) is now an annual event, an inspired response to (and evolution of) #best09. It’s an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead. )

One response to “#reverb10: Writing

  1. Oh man, I love Bird by Bird, though not such a huge fan of the religious meanderings in her later non-fiction.

    One small piece of advice I’d give (not that I’m an expert by any means) is to write while an idea is fresh in your head. Then go back and edit and re-edit, ad infinitum. I have lost too much potential writing because the paralysis of self-doubt prevented me from ever putting anything on the page. But if you can squeeze a first draft out, no matter how crappy, it’s much easier to re-work it later than to start from a place of zero words.

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