This week at our writers group, one of our newer members wondered if she was really a writer. “I read my piece one day and thought it was good, and the next day it seemed rotten.”
We all nodded. Not that we thought her piece wasn’t any good but because we knew those feelings all too well. “That just proves you’re a writer,” we responded in unison.
I’m learning to silence my inner critic, both the one that says a piece is drivel and the one that proclaims it as brilliant. Neither is ever completely right. This is simply the reality of being a writer. Yet, regardless of the emotion of the moment, I know I’m a good writer – and sometimes a great one – one striving to get better.
Aside from the emotional roller coaster of considering specific pieces, I also encounter emotional ups and downs in my career: A published piece one day and a rejection the next. One agent says my idea doesn’t work, while the next one sees potential, and a third lifts me up and shoots me down at the same time: “It’s great, but…”
It seems I’ve heard “but” a lot lately. At least it’s not “No.”
Despite reasons to celebrate, I’ve had mostly down days these past few weeks. Yesterday I told my wife, “I wish I didn’t have this compulsion to write.” The burden seemed too great, the rewards too sparse, the results too distant, and the payout too small. Surely, there are more enjoyable and profitable ways to spend my time.
But the week ended on a high. I now see a light at the end of my tunnel. Though quite a ways off, the light burns steady and bright. My enthusiasm surges. I again see my glass as half full.
Once again, I can proclaim, “I’m going to write until the day I die!” For me, there is no higher calling. What a privilege to use words to enlighten, encourage, and entertain.
I am a writer. Yes, there will be highs and lows, but I will prevail; I will continue to write.
I am a writer, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Where are you on writing’s roller coaster? What do you do to keep moving forward?
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!