Down the Rabbit Hole

The first order of business today, in clarification of my last post, is to make it clear that no catastrophe has befallen me. I apologize for causing you concern. I sincerely appreciate your kindness, and I’m sorry I caused a ruckus. I wrote that post on the anniversary of my father’s death and it was meant only as a reflection on letting go and moving on. That does, however, relate to today’s post.

I seem to be blogging a lot of confessions lately, and here’s another. An accumulation of Real Life stresses finally wiped me out. Since this blog focuses on my writer’s journey, I’ll share how my lowered defenses affected that.

Despite knowing that quitting only assures you never succeed, I came perilously close to doing that very thing this month. After all the cheerleading (preaching?) I’ve done on this blog—and probably yours—I hang my head in shame. Here’s the tale … once removed.

◊ ◊ ◊

You let the querying process clobber you. Your inner critic grows crueler by the day. You dog-paddle furiously just to keep your head above water. Your heart and your head are in constant battle. Tears are shed. Fists are clenched. (Egads! Passive construction.) And, yes, you hide behind humor.

The result? You make the decision to abandon your dream of publication, and then you question whether you should write at all.

More tears. More anger. Debilitating embarrassment.

You come this close to closing down your blog and deleting your Twitter account. How dare you call yourself a writer! You know good writing. You recognize those writers who deserve publication. You are clearly not one of them.

But, for some reason, you don’t quit blogging. You do quit writing anything else. You lie about it. You keep up the pretense of being a writer. Your tweets claim #amwriting, but that refers only to blog posts. You email a couple stories to friends asking for feedback, but they are stories written months ago.

Sooner or later, the freefall ends. You hit bottom. You crack wide open. If you’re lucky, you have friends there to give you a little help. And if you’re very lucky, you open up a file you haven’t read in months and read a line or two that amazes you. You don’t remember them, but these are lines you wrote. You wrote! You, the writer.

You stand up, brush yourself off, deal with the cuts and bruises. You move onward and upward. What choice do you have? A writer writes.

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