I couldn’t do it. Yesterday, I was supposed to post a story on my blog. But I didn’t. For the very first time, I failed in that task. For a few days now, I have felt discouragement. I have heard the Voice. You know which Voice I’m talking about: “Nobody is reading your blog, Carrie.”, “Do you know how much time you have spent on that blog, Carrie?”, “Do you realize your blog will never take off, Carrie?”
“How many precious moments with your friends you let pass because you woke up at dawn to hide and write?”
That Voice added misery to discouragement. Yesterday, I tried writing. I tried in the morning and I couldn’t; I tried in the evening and I couldn’t. That Voice sucked every bit of thought and every bit of word out of my mind and keyboard, and there I was,
“Ridicule can’t kill you” they say. So here are some details about my fruitless attempts. I felt empty; so I thought I’d fill my post with something vague and convenient about society, something witty, humorous, sarcastic.
I opened a new draft and tried to write something humorous about the different subcategories of lesbians (yes I did.)
I opened a second draft and tried to write something sarcastic about family interactions at Christmas.
My wife read it, didn’t laugh, looked at me looking at her, forced a laugh. For a fleeting moment, she was the Voice: “Who do you think will read that piece? Nobody cares!” So I did what any reasonable person would do: I brushed my teeth and went to bed.
I was munching on my toast and I asked myself (aloud, to cover the Voice): “What were your best stories?” I started thinking, my toast in precarious suspension.
“You wrote that piece because two persons you cared about died in the space of two days. You wrote that piece on the day of your anniversary because you felt that sudden surge of Love, that sudden urge to put words on what it is exactly that you feel for your wife. You wrote that piece because on that day you missed travelling so much that it ached. You wrote that piece because that day you had received amazing feedback on your writing, and you felt so happy and amazing and elated that you felt like playing and writing something funny. This morning, you ran down to seek refuge in that café you wrote about, that café where words seem to come so easily, under the shelter of the crowd, that it felt like your last chance to write something. You are now writing this piece because you have felt miserable about yourself for the past few days and you have actually considered to stop writing and delete your blog.”
(Jeez, what were you thinking?)
What about you?
In what mood and state of enthusiasm were you when you first opened your blog or Medium account?
I wanted it to change my life. I wanted to take a first step into a new life. I wanted a medium for my passions, fears and fits of anger. I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to make something, some day, of my travel journals, send them to an editor. I even had these business cards made, just in case, for later. I knew it’d take months, even years. Until recently, I’ve felt nothing but enthusiasm, whether my pieces were liked/recommended or not. Why something broke down this week, I can’t explain.
(The Voice: “Maybe you’re going through early menopause.”)
Ok, I am finishing this piece right now in that café. I think I feel (kind of) better. (Is anyone reading this, Carrie ?) I will send that Voice where it belongs (to hell) and talk to whomever might be reading:
If you have felt similar discouragement, please know that I have enjoyed reading you immensely, and chances are that I am not the only one.
I don’t know any of the writers and bloggers I’m following. And yet, it feels like I’ve been intimate with them at times: they have told me about their distress, their surges of happiness and enthusiasm, the loss of their significant other, their chemo, the love of their life, the dreams they have and hope will be fulfilled. Sometimes (don’t freak out) I think about them, in the train, in the bus, in between classes. I make up their life. I recollect what I know of them and I fill the gaps. I smile.
I feel guilty for not responding more. I mostly write private notes and in fact rarely do it. Maybe (Voice) nobody, even the author, would have cared about my response. But maybe (to hell) it would have made a difference. Maybe I should have said this before, and to the author in person.
There are useful pieces, and there are pieces about you. The latter may be, in fact, the reason why you started writing. If you are in doubt, if you are experiencing symptoms of writer’s discouragement, write about it. If you are feeling anything strong enough that it occupies your mind, write about it. Someone may read your piece, connect with it, and, by way of your words,
Those smiles are the reason why you and I should keep on writing.
Do not let other writers experience discouragement. Here's how: