(written this morning)
I am returning to my story after only a day away. Last I left it, on Monday, I had come to the conclusion that it was at best choppy, at worse hopelessly immature. I was well aware the end had holes, so a paragraph would float aimlessly toward the last page, not anchored to anything, and yet I was unable to select it and hit delete. And to top it all off, I still wasn’t satisfied with the opening. I kept going back to the first paragraph, knowing the tone and voice was somehow different from the rest of the story, parts of which I thought were really working, because toward the middle I really had my momentum—I was unsure of how to make it match. Simply put, the first draft is far from ready.
On Monday, I walked to work through the cold after realizing all these weaknesses in the story. The wind was unbearable. My coat, under which was a hooded fleece, under which was a hat, over which were two scarves, wasn’t enough. I was so focused on walking the ten or so blocks to work, charging through the wind with tears in my eyes at times, that I couldn’t think much on what I’d written that morning. Usually, as I walk to work after my morning writing stints, I grow a little perspective and get a sense of how to fix what I’d left hanging that day. But I was too cold to think about any of that. So I left it broken. And now I am trying to pick up the pieces.
I keep stalling because I want to apply for things: awards, scholarships to writers conferences, colonies, anything I’m qualified for, really. I SHOULD apply for more things, I am telling myself, even if I’ve gotten nos before, I should give it another whirl this year. What could it hurt—except my pride? Like now, I just looked up a famous writers conference in my archives, debated asking someone for a reference, decided yes I would ask, then decided no I wouldn’t ask, because I would probably just get rejected again and end up being disappointed again. Flash-forward rejection. I’m just looking out for myself.
That took almost twenty minutes. Twenty minutes that I SHOULD have been putting toward this story. Even when I am thinking of writing, and writing-related ventures, I am often distracting myself from other distractions. My level of distraction is incalculable. I keep doing this. And each time I think of some other thing I should be doing to become the “Writer” I long to be, I come back to the same realization: the most important thing I should be doing is writing. It is that simple. I cannot call myself a “writer” (lowercase, even) if I don’t write. That is more important than winning an award to list in my bio.
So I return to my first paragraph. Hello there.
You see, it’s giving me the cold shoulder. I left it dismantled for an entire day, naked and missing its arms. I’m sorry. I’ll keep trying. Soon, soon, it should turn, and open up to me, and I’ll find my way in.