(This was inspired by a wonderful blog post written by the amazing VE Schwaab).
My book is broken,
it is a complete and total mess,
none of it makes sense,
I’ll probably have to delete 80% of it,
and that’s ok.
I’ve struggled my whole life with this fear of not being perfect. And before you get all “Nobody’s perfect, it’s part of being a human” on me, I want to tell you that trust me, I know. I know this in my brain, however, anxiety oftentimes defies any kind of logical thinking and motivational quotes. It exists no matter what you do to quiet it or what you say to yourself.
In this way, writing is oftentimes really hard for me. I am my own worst critic. I am so afraid of my writing not being perfect that I oftentimes don’t write at all. I have always felt like I needed to prove something to somebody because ever since I’ve expressed the desire to be a writer, all most people want to do is try to crush that dream. I am sure fellow people in the arts can relate to this. The society we live in values wealth and status over pretty much everything else, and being creative most of the time fails to grant you either of those. It is a risky profession.
I had to accept that I may not achieve either one of those things with my writing, and that’s okay, and that I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone else. Most writers have other jobs besides writing, and they make time for writing because it’s something they love. The road to publication is long and hard, and one that I haven’t even really begun to start traveling on. Because I needed to go back to how my brain was when I was a kid. When I would write just for me. When it didn’t matter what anyone else thought of my writing. Because I loved it more than anything in the world, and mostly because it was just…fun. This is one of the worst parts of being an adult: having fun is not a priority anymore. You are encouraged to run on the hamster wheel that is working and preparing for the future. Your imagination is quelled by the stresses of everyday life, and many times by the truly scary parts of the world.
It took me a long time to get to the mental place that I am in right now in terms of my writing. It took me a long time to just get excited, and to make something for the sake of making it, and to trust that I will share my books with the world one day when I am ready. I am already proving the “haters” wrong just by writing every day. But most importantly, I am proving to myself that I am worthy and that my writing matters, and I can do this thing that is being an author.
So back to what I said earlier. My book is completely broken. I find how broken it is very intimidating and it is so hard to resist the urge to self-edit. But that’s part of the process. Because there is nothing to prove to anyone. Because this work exists solely on my computer and I have ultimate control over when I decide to share it. Because a gorgeous house is never built without the initial, shaky, and shoddy foundation that no one would be able to live in on its own. You build it brick by brick, bird by bird, word by word.
To my fellow creators, let yourself fail. We all have to start somewhere.