For those of you who don’t know, I am trying to write and publish a novel. I have been working on this particular story for almost the entire school year, which is enough to get me 63,00-and-something words. I spend a lot of time working on it when I really should be sleeping, or doing homework, or maybe hanging out with friends.
Sometimes I question whether it’s worth it. I mean, what if this storyline is just like the other nineteen or twenty that I’ve started writing, convinced myself that it was the greatest idea ever, and then less than a year later, ditched it for something else? There have been a lot of reasons for my doing that, including Copycat Syndrome, Childish Idea Syndrome, I Hate All Of My Characters Syndrome… literally every reason it’s feasible to come up with, I have run into it and used it as an excuse to get rid of a story that in all honesty probably wasn’t a bad idea.
My guess is that a big part of this problem is emulation. I have a writing voice that is unique to myself—but I have no idea what it sounds like. I have been told that it’s unique, but I highly doubt that on occasion. I know that I am different, but when I’m stuck in a creative rut, I read. If I read other people’s work to convince myself to stand up and write my own, it might be inevitable that I sometimes sound like I am trying to sound like other authors.
I once gave a speech about having a voice versus using a voice to say something of value. Do my stories allow ne to do this?
I don’t know. I have a minorly debilitating paranoia that if I let someone else read my work, the creative ideas will suddenly vanish and then I will be left with nothing. It’s a phobia that has been an impediment for years, but I also have a burning wish for someone else to read my stories, because like most students, I crave the spotlight. I desperately want to be told that my work stands out, that I am the shining star in a room of black-painted plaster.
No one has ever said that. I’ve been told that I’m talented. I’ve been told that I’m good. But there has always been criticism, and like all writers, I presume, it is deeply ingrained into my personality that I must fix any flaw before my work can ever be shown to anyone. The time that I spend on my “novel” is a combination of extending the story and going through the pages of text to ensure that I have created no anachronisms for myself.
Simply put, it’s exhausting.
I wish that I could tell myself that it isn’t worth the bother. I can think of a thousand alternatives to fill the time that I spend on writing throughout the day. But in my heart, I don’t want to. Writing might as well be the electrons flashing around my brain to make the thoughts move for all I could do without it. It doesn’t matter how much I hate what writing does to my freedom sometimes, but nothing will ever change the fact that I love the feeling of a story coming out cleanly on the page, and I truly believe that nothing will ever change that for me.