It wouldn’t be the first time in my life I’ve asked myself this question. I would be worried if it was. Because maybe that would mean I’m too blasé, lacking ambition, too afraid to take risks. It certainly couldn’t mean a deep satisfaction and the achievement of perfection (since I don’t believe in perfect).
So, it’s crept its way back into my waking thoughts. In addition to the question “what happened”, a gang of other questions roam the streets of my consciousness. (I’m not sure I want to know what happens at the subconscious level.) Why? is strutting around there. What’s the pattern? And how can I shatter it into an oblivion of shards, melt them down, reconstitute them into something beneficial, something that spurs growth rather than spurns it? Companion to these questions is the tinge of guilt I have that, yet again, I have let myself down.
But this is all very abstract. About what exactly am I bellyaching? Basically, I haven’t written anything since March. In some ways, I’ve actively been avoiding it, letting my lofty goals slide into dusty despondency. That’s five months. What happened? After all, in the beginning of the year, I had an intense period of creative productivity. Book I had been gone through again. Jeannel had given me some great constructive feedback on it. Book II had a first edit and was ready for merging. Book III is partially (probably 30%) written. I even went to a writing conference in the beginning of March, less than a week after returning from Scotland. There three chapters had intense critiques, and my query letter had been macheted into shape. And then things went to hell.
What happened? Good, old-fashioned fear broiling under the surface. Of failure, of course. Of criticism. (A little bit) of the work. Of knowing for sure that I’m a 2nd-rate writer. But also of success.
I’m getting to the point where I can no longer tuck the project into my nest and sit on it. I will have to take that next step, complete the project, send it out into the world, and start on the next one. And that’s completely new to me. I know the writing part of it, and the editing part. I know about sending things out and about rejection. But those were short stories, and this feels different.
“Why confess all this” could be another question. Well, I write to explore. I write to understand. This is part of the process and the pattern.