Tuesday, September 13, 2011

doubts

We all have doubts, right?  We all have fears and worries, and concerns.  Well, here I am a mere three days into my commitment to being a writer, and I have already gotten terribly discouraged.  That isn't to say that I haven't been writing every day.  But I wonder if what I have to say hasn’t already been said.  I am worried that there simply is not space for another writer.

When I started my stepmother blog, I did it out of necessity.  I began writing the events of our lives, because I couldn’t not.  I read other people’s blogs to find community and search for those in the same boat.    I discovered a whole world of stepmama’s coping with the very thing I was, and I felt relieved.  I was welcomed, appreciated, and folded into the realm of women experiencing step-life, and my blog has grown because of it.

But being a stay at home mom, and choosing to enter the world of work again is a different story.  I have barely begun to scratch at the surface of my own capabilities, and see what the writing world has to offer, but already I can sense the complex nature of the scene.  It is inherently competitive.  There are limited resources, so it seems, and if I get the agent or the publisher to notice me, then she might not have time for you.  If it is vice versa then will that risk my own success?

All animals vie for resources.  The gorilla troupes battle others for control of their gorilla land.  The lions fight off others who get near their lionesses.  The deer in my backyard eat all the tastiest leaves when the weather turns colder, leaving nothing behind for other deer.  It is about survival.  Those who are the strongest and boldest survive.

We humans have some aspects of this going on in our society too.  Some are fighting for their survival every day.  In my life however, I am blessed to grow a garden, I have a partner who works his ass off to make money so we can eat, we have plenty of water, we have warmth in the winter, and while my country is at war, the war has not yet hit me directly.  I don't need to fight to make it to the next day.  But that innate tendency remains.  As it does for most of us I'd wager.  We all want the good stuff for ourselves.  Just look at those people who storm the toy stores when "the next big thing" hits the shelves.  Pushing and shoving and risking broken bones to be the first to get that cabbage patch doll, or tickle me elmo, or zhu zhu pet.  that's not rational, it's the survival instinct gone awry.  Or the rich "job-creators" who don't want to give any more money back to the government than they absolutely have to, to help out the poor who really are trying to survive.  Again, they think they are trying to survive, themselves, but they already ahve everything, don't they.   But I fully admit it, when I divvy up the slices of pie, I like mine to be a little more full of blueberries.  Which, luckily, is easy to justify, since the kids "should" have smaller slices anyway.

Writers are the same as anybody else.  We want the publisher to notice us, not that other guy.  We want the sucess for ourselves.  It's competitive. Becoming a published author seems to be a rare occurrence.  All the resources and forums say that you'd better become great friends with rejection if you are going to enter this biz.

I have to ask though, if maybe those of us who do not have to fight for our basic survival needs (food, water, shelter, love, in case you forgot)  might start approaching the world in a new way.  Not trying to cause solely ourselves prosper, while others flounder.  And in my itsy bitsy understanding of the writing world, I think maybe writer's circles are one place where this could be so.  The options and platforms from which one can jump from and call oneself a writer are ever growing and changing.  There are of course, the usual published books and magazines and newspapers.  The internet now allows us to write out our thoughts and post them in less than a second.  There are e-zines, online forums, and any number of freelance jobs in the writing business.  And of course, one can self-publish their own book, and become their own public relations executive in the process.  Being a writer can look however you want it too.  And there seems to be plenty of space to cheer each other on, while still giving voice to our own words.

This is encouraging.  But my question still remains as to whether everything I have to say has already been said.  So I sit here and write.  I practice and perfect and edit various projects and posts.  I begin to feel better about it all.  I write because I have to.  I need to. I cannot go a day without putting something down on paper (or screen).  Writing itself is an art, a practice that is inherently personal.  It can flow from your heart, evolve from your experience, or be an expression of your expertise.  I am starting to think that this is the place I need to keep focused on.  Write the words, do the practice, carve out the time, edit, edit, edit, and the rest will follow.

Other people may have thought or written or said the very same thing that I am writing down here, or had the same feelings that are coming out of my heart and mind.  That is ok.  (I'll commiserate with them in a forum later.)  Because the reality is that I haven't said what I need to say yet.  And my voice is slightly different than any one else's.  I want to believe in a world where noone has to succeed while someone else fails, a world where all can survive without cost. Maybe it is a fantasy world of imaginative writers.  But in it there is time, there is space, there is opportunity for each to say what needs to be said.  Without a doubt.

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