The Surgical Theater
I’m going to take a deep breath.
…now I’m ready to talk about this.
I posted some flash fic on Friday. It was an experiment in style and voice, as well as an experiment in writing mundane fiction (with no fantastic or science fictional ingredients). I was pretty so-so about it when I finished it, but it’s something I started and finished, so I was basically proud of it and excited to post it publicly. But when it came time to actually put it up, I reread it and decided I hated it. I mean, I got sick to my stomach just thinking of other people reading it. I seriously considered not posting it at all, just deleting the fucker, wrapping it in lead and firing it into the sun. Maybe I would post a poem instead–or just not post anything.
But I swallowed hard, screwed my eyes shut, took a Xanax, and hit Publish anyway.
I’ve been writing fiction and poetry irregularly but habitually since high school. When it comes to fiction, I’ve started many, many stories, finished very, very few, and shown what I’ve written to hardly anyone. I can tell that my writing has grown through out the years, thanks to reading a lot, thinking about how the writers I read use language, and practicing the craft in private. But I realize that I also need to show my work publicly if I want to grow even more. Yes, even the pieces I hate.
I also have to get used to the fact that the creative process is a process that never ends, that I will always need to learn more, practice more, push myself more. I have to remember that all artists, even the ones I think are perfectly perfect, produce stinky stuff sometimes, and no artist loves everything they create. A friend on Twitter reminded me to “embrace the suck.” I need to make that a mantra.
Embrace the suck. Embrace the suck. Embrace. The. Suck.
(And now I’m imagining myself as a vampire, except I feed on honest but failed attempts at art. Count Dreckula.)
So in the spirit of Austin Kleon’s Share Your Work, I’ve decided I will continue to post what I write, even when I think it monstrously sucks, and I’ll share my insecurities about my writing as well, because I won’t grow if I’m not open and honest and pushing my own boundaries. And because my sucky writing and my insecurities about my writing are part of my creative process. This blog is the science fair where I show off my mad experiments. I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
*trips* *knocks over shelf of experimental prose* *sets blog on fire* *blows up the entire east coast of North America*