Exeunt, Pursued by a Bear
I said I was going to be sharing something every day in my prepping for the novel I’ve had bouncing around in my head, the one I intended to write this past National Novel Writing Month. And yet, I haven’t posted anything in four weeks.
“What happened?” you may be asking, unless you actually have things in your life that are occupying your mind and time.
What’s happened is this: I ran out of one of my psych meds earlier this month and spent a week with very off-kilter brain chemistry. I missed some work, I couldn’t focus on much of anything, and I could brain well enough to put words on paper–or even make notes for putting words on paper. After I got back on my meds and got my back on track, I continued to put off doing much prep and avoided posting anything here. Last week, I realized that the pressure I was putting on myself to prove to everyone that I could be and was a goddamn novelist, forcing myself to hold myself publicly accountable, was making me loathe writing at all. I had a list of novels and short stories I absolutely had to read and TV shows and movies I absolutely had to watch as prep for this novel, regardless of whether or not I felt like reading or watching them. Every minute I wasn’t reading or watching from the required list or making notes for the novel was time I was wasting. And every day I didn’t post something on this blog was another reminder of what a failure I am. Giving myself the label “Writer” was depressing me. This blog was starting to feel like a stone weight around my neck.
I’m 44 years old and I’m tired of thinking of myself as a failure. The real waste of time is not doing what gives me joy and beating myself up for failing to live up to imaginary expectations. If I never get to be a published author, so fucking what? If I’m never considered a “real writer” by myself or anyone else, so fucking what? When I’m lying in my death bed and looking back over my life, I want to be happy about the time I spent doing things that bring me real joy. I want to read whatever the hell I feel like reading at the time. I want to watch whatever the hell I feel like watching at the time. I want to daydream, plan, plot, scheme, write, sketch, doodle, and play as the whim hits me. If I want to share these things with other people, that’s cool. If I want to keep them to myself, that’s cool, too. As much as I’ve wanted to be a Writer, a Novelist, a Poet, what I really, really want to be is Happy.
I don’t know what this means for this site. I’ve had the goblin-cartoons domain for over 10 years. I love the term “goblin cartoons” and still think it’s the best name for the kinds of things I like to create. But right now, I don’t particularly feel up to sharing my writing with the public or pressuring myself to produce more than I feel capable of producing. I think a Real Writer is someone who writes whether they feel inspired or not. At this point, I’m not sure I care about being a Real Writer. If being a Real Writer is showing up and doing the work, well, I’d rather wander around and play.
And I’m more than OK with that.