Sometimes, It’s Okay To Give In to Your Writing Demons
My writing demons are loud today. They are vicious, criticizing everything from my skill to my intellect.
Why do you want to write? There are so many writers out there who are better than you. You shouldn’t even bother.
Despite their intensity, I’ve tried to write. I have. I’ve got a half dozen, half-completed drafts sitting in Google Docs. The problem is that I don’t have the words to give these stories life. Every time I try, it’s like giving mouth-to-mouth to a corpse. Perhaps the stories are already dead to begin with, or maybe I don’t have the force of talent to give them life.
Sometimes, I believe being an avid reader is a writer’s curse. The more you read, the more you realize how shitty your writing is, how little you know about the world, how there are people out there with more depth and insight and experience in their pinky than you have in your whole being.
There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smooths and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind — wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place. ―Toni Morrison, Beloved
Morrison’s words — you feel the loneliness in your bones. How can I put writing out there when paragraphs like this exist?
Sometimes, I feel ashamed for my lack of talent. My shallowness of thought. My inability to express my ideas as profoundly or resonantly as other writers. I realize comparison is a dangerous game, and I still play it.
Rarely, do words come easily. I’m stilted and awkward and nervous in conversation, and I usually feel that way in my writing, too. Only, I have the opportunity and patience to revise my words in writing, so they have more fluency and precision than my speech.
It’s dangerous wanting to be a good writer, and maybe even a great one. Interestingly, my love of writing reemerged after the birth of my daughter. I’m sure a better writer could plumb this…