The Wall

heartonwall.jpgI’ve been up against a wall with my writing for some time now. The wall is made of doubt, lots of it, and fear, lots of that too, and it’s bricked me in for a long time. I keep thinking I’m brave enough, strong enough, persistent enough to try to make my way over it, but I don’t know. There are many people who get permanently stuck on this side of the wall, and I might be one.

It all started with some rejections—what else?—and it occurs to me that I’ve been pretty much stalled at the same place for going on two years. I’ve been reacting to those rejections internally for so long I can’t even recall what specifically to be upset about. There’s no one rejection that’s any worse than another. It’s a general malaise. A hopelessness. It affected the project that was rejected, of course, but it has also gone on to affect every single writing project I’ve tackled since then. Everything I try to do is colored by it. I just can’t seem to let myself forget.

Yesterday, on Sunday, I tried a walk. Didn’t help. I tried organizing procedures for my new job so I’m more on top of things for today. Maybe it will help when I get there today, but it didn’t help yesterday. I tried afternoon coffee. I tried some hip-hop to get my heart pumping. I tried closing my eyes. I tried opening them. I tried everything except writing, I guess. When I came home, I was down near miserable. But then E started trying to talk to me—he can have such a soothing manner with me, such contrast to my negativity; I don’t know how he does it. At first I didn’t want him to talk me out of my mood. The wall was all I could see and I just felt like dwelling on it. But he knows how deeply I can wallow, so he kept talking. And as he talked, as he started telling me some ideas he had for solutions, some bright spots I could focus on in my/our future, I forgot how miserable I was. I started feeling, dare I say it, hopeful. I forgot that I was stuck and let myself think, for a few minutes there, which is a start, and what I need is a start, that maybe, maybe I could avoid the wall entirely. Dodge it. Take an entirely new route.

Now, the next morning, I am feeling tentative. But not hopeless. That’s a good start.

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5 thoughts on “The Wall

  1. I have had all those feelings before. What keeps me going is my “for fun” writing that I do. There is a wonderful little site called Ficlets.com where you write little stories (1024 characters long, or about 150 words).

    The nice thing about the site that is you get some feedback, usually positive, and that really helps keep me going. Plus, people write sequels/prequels to your stories and it is pretty interesting to see where people go with your ideas.

    Anyhow, it’s just a suggestion. My fragile ego, at least, needs some positive feedback now and then.

  2. Sylvia Plath once said, “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the out-going guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.”

    I find that I do not lack the imagination– not any terms, but sometimes I lack the guts. It’s hard to get used to the fact that with writing comes rejection– a lot of time rejection is more common than praise. It is just a part of the business.

    I am sure that you are your own worst critic. (Aren’t we all?)

    Best of luck.

    heart. mckenzie.

  3. We all get stuck on that side of the wall and it’s a hard place to be in. I find taking breaks from submissions to focus just on writing helps, as does finding places where you can contribute fun writing in a positive atmosphere like struggling writer suggested.

  4. It’s hard to find that place where you are doing and not thinking about doing, where your activity pushes your anxiety aside for a time and gives you some blessed relief. I hope your blog helps—it should be some consolation that it helps your readers.

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