When I stress about writing, people usually react to it by saying ‘It’s just a short-story (or whatever it is at that moment)’ but what they don’t understand is this is my my craft, my life. It’s something I gave birth to, something I thought of, something I spent night’s concocting in my brain. It’s not just a few words you throw together, it’s how I manifest my thoughts. It’s me wearing my heart on my sleeve and it’s me putting myself out there for all to see.
And usually the greatest critic in all of this is ME. I tear my words apart. Throw my stories in the trash. Pick them up fondly, feeling love for them again, only to crumple them up once I find a flaw. Is this normal? Does it ever get easier?
My sister recently introduced me to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TEDtalk about ‘your inner genius’. I heard it and it just struck home. She is the celebrated writer of ‘Eat Pray Love’ and for her to speak so openly about her doubts and fears just makes me feel a little better. Suddenly, after listening to it, you feel understood. It makes me breathe a little easier to know that writing IS hard. It needs to be nursed. Nights need to be spent mulling over it. But when you finally find that piece of work that is as perfect as you can make it, you heave a big sigh of relief. You let out all that in one big breath because this one piece is done. And then it begins all over again when the next page has to be filled up with all your thoughts.