Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Need To Think Before I Say Yes

I accidentally agreed to be held accountable for my writing this week. Accidentally as in, I was sitting with another woman at church next week chatting and I mentioned that I haven't been disciplined about  writing. More accurately, I haven't even sat at my desk in my office and attempted to write. Not consistently anyway. So she challenged me to take the walk down the hallway into my office and sit down to work at least three times during the week and she would check in with me next Sunday. I accepted because at the time, it seemed like a good idea.

Now on Wednesday, after two days of coffees, errands, procrastination and anything but coming down the hall, I am running out of days. 

There is a part of me, a big part, that hates to fail. Hates to agree to something and not follow through. 

And so I sit here and I write. 

A blog post about how I am just doing this to get credit for having done it. (I learned this technique from my son who has been known to write about not knowing what to write for a school assignment.)

The truth is there was a time when I was disciplined about my writing. When I dropped the kids off at school, made a cup of coffee, and then put my butt in the chair (thanks Anne Lamott) and wrote. Or at least attempted to write. 

I finished a whole novel that way. I wrote consistently on my blog that way. Butt in chair.

But now I have trouble just getting into my office and it is a beautiful office. 

I have trouble wanting to write because honestly I don't see a point any more. There was a time when I was still dreaming of my blog being read by more and more people. Friends loving something I wrote and sharing it with a friend. Someone on Twitter being touched by something and retweeting a post and gaining more follows. I have watched many writers' careers grow over the last few years, going from a simple at home blogger, to being internet famous, to having a book contract, to being in real life known.  I still had hope that people would want to read my words, would want to hear me speak, would want to buy my book. 

I lost that hope along the way. Too many discouraging rejections mixed with losing my in real life support system and a lack of viralness to my work has made me question the value of my work. 

And then yesterday I heard myself ask a friend, "If you died just as you finished your degree, would it still be worth having done it?" 

If I died just after hitting publish, would these words have value? Would they be worth the time I spent writing them? 

It's an interesting question. One I have been skirting the edges of for the last couple of weeks. What is the value in my writing? 

The thing I, I feel compelled to write. I feel my most authentic self when I think of myself as a writer. I feel most alive when I am working. I also feel my most vulnerable, my most flawed, my most unworthy when I try to be a writer. 

Rejection hurts. So stop submitting. 

But then why write? 

Why do anything that may result in failure? 

But if we don't risk we don't live. We just exist. 

I've been existing this year. 

But I want to live. 


  1. I, for one, miss your writing voice. But I understand how life and the things that fly around in our head can get in the way. Maybe the best answer is to write for yourself. Write because it makes YOU feel alive. That has value, maybe more than be read by others. Wish we were closer!

  2. I think the fog of this winter is lifting so hopefully I will be writing more. Thanks for encouraging me! Somedays I can do it just for me but sometimes it helps to know that others want to read my thoughts.

  3. Gosh, thank you for writing this. I have been struggling with my blog of late, wondering if it is really worth the effort. I don't know the answer. I thought it would be more than it has turned out to be, but yet I can't imagine not doing it either. Well, either way, it was nice to know I am not alone in the struggle. If it means anything, I love reading your words. I can't tell you how often they resonate with me.

    1. Freya, I love your blog and get such great book ideas from it for the kids. Planet Tad has been another huge hit! I guess the question is would we still do this if only for ourselves and maybe a handful of friends. I have to redefine success when it comes to writing I think because otherwise I get so discouraged I want to quit.