Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Work/Manuscripts: Pulling on our big girl/boy undies

I'm much better, but fatigue hangs on; ornery old fatigue. I do believe it’s the anesthesia, for apparently my body/brain detests anesthesia. After all, they put this weird cocktail into your central nervous system: You are in a deep unnatural sleep; you have to have assistance breathing because you can’t breathe on your own; they paralyze you so you can’t move; you are given something to make you forget; and you are made unresponsive to the body’s natural ability to react to pain—eyewww.

Last night I let myself fall into a worry that Secret Graces won't be Good Enough. I remember having the same worry about Tender Graces. However, I’ve received good response to TG—and well, Tender Graces is Out, Published; it's Done. Will everyone on the planet Earth love my work, or even like it, or even read it? No. And this, my friends, is something the author/writer should understand and then forget it and go on. There’ll be readers who are lukewarm about our work. There may even be readers who hate our work. There’ll certainly be those who never even read us or know who the hellvitica we are.

Our job as writers/authors is to Write. To work, we have to stop obsessing and worrying about whether we are Good Enough. This is human thing, not just a writer/author thing. We all worry about our Identities. Even as mothers, fathers, spouses, friends, we compare ourselves to others' successes and worry we don't measure up--what are we lacking that they have? This is not productive thinking. There will always be someone who seems to Have it All, or has what we want (or what we think we want). We ask: Are we Good Enough (to be like they are), instead of being the best we can be and proud of, or happy about, our own accomplishments.

Each step in our journey should be noted and appreciated. We can make Big Goals, but we have to recognize we aren't alone in striving for those Big Goals--we all can't have a piece of the pie because there is only so much pie and a bunch of people crowd around with us for a slice. Are we willing to lick the pan? Wait for another pie to be baked? Forget pie and go eat an apple? (Now I'm just hungry . . . *laughing*)

Is a person who loves our work right and the person who doesn't wrong? Hellvitica no! The author who rants and stomps his/her feet at a bad or lukewarm review isn’t doing him/herself any favors. The writer/author/person who says, "Hmph, they just Don't Get It," isn't always getting it. Remember the movie or book, "She's just not that into you." Well . . . sometimes that's just how it is, sometimes people just aren't that into us. Just as unproductive is the author/person who becomes depressed over it and lets doubts creep in and take dangerous hold.

Realty is, we have to step away from our search for validation and get busy in the business of writing in spite of or in the face of whatever else may be going on out there or we won't write the next work. If we don't find a way to get back to the root of our love, our writing (or whatever it is you do), then we can become paralyzed with fear of not being Good Enough.

So friends, what I’m saying is: Just write what you love and when you are published, pull on those big girl panties (or big boy unders), take a deep breath, and know that you will be loved, you will be liked, you will be ignored, and you may even be Not Liked One Bit. You will see authors rise above you and win awards or be on bestseller's lists or on talk shows or on radio or on the moon or a part of Saturn's mysteriously beautiful rings. There will be those in front of you and those behind you and those beside you. This business ain’t for sissies and the faint of heart—so I’m here to say to you who have put yourselves Out There for your dreams, your love, your life, your work, your health, your family, your friends: YOU GO GO GO! *clap clap clap clap clap*

You can be your greatest critic and enemy, or, you can be your greatest friend and cheerleader.

I want to hug you and say, “Hey, look what you created. All on your own. With love. And heart.” I want to tell you to keep doing what you love and to stop worrying about whether everyone on the planet will love you, you only have to love yourself.



Barbara said...

Dear Kathryn! Muwwahhh! Back at you. This was a fantastic post and so, so true. I've been having a little pep talk with myself this morning, but yours was so much better!! Thank you. *hugs* Barbara

Patience-please said...

(The Twilight Zone music playing in the background ...)

Did you stand outside my kitchen door and eavesdrop yesterday? Do you have a hidden camera in my computer/sewing room? ARE YOU A FREAKING MIND READER??

I'm sending a link to this post to my long suffering spouse. You'll be able to hear his applause all the way from here, even without using your super powers.

Thank you.

storyqueen said...

This is a beautiful post. And one i really needed to read. I spent the summer finishing a novel, and the past weekend beginning the revision. Although I love it, I could feel the fear of "is it Good Enough?" deep in my lower back, radiating through my soul.

I don't have the answer to "is it Good Enough" but at least, reading this, I am again embracing the fact that writing is mostly about the work of writing, not the quest for validation.

Thank you!


Strange Fiction said...

Beautiful words Kathryn and so true. Good to hear you're feeling a bit better! :)

Analisa said...

Thanks Kathryn.
I think many of us where fighting this. Sometimes that sneaky voice says "Who do you think you are to write a book?" I hate discouragement with a passion. One day I will write why on my blog. It is such a stealer of dreams and I fight it with everything in me.
Your blog today just gave me another weapon.

Take that discouragement and don't let me see you around here again!!

Lori said...

Such truth! I am striving to leave behind my need for validation every day. It fights back a lot.

Judith Mercado said...

"This business ain’t for sissies and the faint of heart..."
You're right, but there are some wonderful companions on the path. Thank you for being one of them. I love your blog.

jeannette stgermain said...

Wished I could have said it your way, (that's why I'm not a writer LOL) and I see this as vital, no matter what art we "practice."

Ami said...

Thanks for the wonderful reminders, Kat! You're a mentor for more than one writer out there, even if you don't know it yet. ;)