Maybe there are some writers who are born with an innate ability to not care what other people think about them. I, however, was not one of them. Every time I sit down to write, either creatively or academically, I am concerned with exactly how I sound to someone else's ear.
Was that phrase too archaic?
Did that word make sense?
Is my character insane and, if so, should I care?
I'm always second guessing my writing, heck, I've always second guessed my life.
I'm in the final year of pursuing a degree I started 16 years ago. A Bachelor's. According to "everyone" I should already have that, already have several degrees. But I don't. I stopped, I started, I stopped again. And here I am, thirty-something and still in pursuit of that first degree. And I'm ok with that. Really. I can see now that to finish what you start is really the goal. Once I achieve this educational goal, I can move forward to the others. It doesn't matter if people think I'm lazy or easily distracted because I wasn't able to settle for one program of study until now. I matters that I know where I'm headed and that I take the steps necessary to get there.
The same is with writing. I can't worry too much about what other people say, that I should already be finished with that darn novel I started ten years ago (yes, that novel does exist, on a shelf...somewhere). I shouldn't care that the story I'm working on now has nothing to which I can compare it. And I shouldn't care if people question me about my writing and I have no other answer than to show them a stack of red-marked papers and grin.
"It's none of their business that you have to learn how to write," Papa Hemingway said. "Let them think you were born that way."
I love to read Hemingway's quotes when I'm feeling down about my own writing, when I'm insecure in the path I've chosen. I'm sure he had his moments of doubt, but his strength is what shines because he wrote from a place deep within that we all, as writers, must go: the very heart of his passion. A passion for words and story.
Insecure or not, I must get to that place. That's where I must go. And it doesn't matter if those around me understand or agree. It matters that I see the vision to the end.
Now, go forth and be FABULOUS!
**This post was for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.