July 23, 2011

Never good enough...

A few years ago I took my first, and as it turns out my only, creative writing class. I was super excited, because I had tried since freshman year to get in but it was always full. I was also terrified, because any "creative" writing I had ever done was never seen by anyone except my dog, and she had to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Our first assignment was to write about a memory we had. It only took me about 3.4 seconds before I had my topic. I would end up telling the story of how my family went on vacation to the Outer Banks, rode a ferry, and I got shit on by a bird while pretending to be Kate Winslet, spreading her arms wide at the bow of the RMS Titanic. It was witty, it was cute, and my professor said it reminded him of David Sedaris, at which point I exploded.

The thing is, even though everyone loved it, I wasn't satisfied with it at all. I've tried endlessly to extend it, insert more a more meaningful context, make it more believable (even though it's true), etc., and can never end up with something I'm satisfied with. I even published it on my blog for about three hours before deleting it in shame.

When it comes to writing, why is nothing ever good enough for me? In real life I don't give a flying frying pan what people think. But get me in a room (or, *ahem*, the entire internet) full of other creative people who express themselves in ways similar as I do, and I just can't take it.

I care. I care a lot. I don't want to seem fake. I don't want to seem like I don't care. I don't want to seem like I'm trying to hard. I don't want to seem lazy. I don't want to seem like I'm copying someone's style. I don't want to seem too different. Does this wording sound pretentious? Does this sound like I'm trying way too hard to be funny? Does this comma make the sentence look too fat?

I've asked myself all of these questions. And here's another: As someone who considers themselves, in any way, a writer, of any sort, how and when do you get over the bull shit and just do you?



  1. When you have deadlines and a full plate, you can't go back to look over something once it has been submitted and published. You must move onto the next piece or the next deadline.

    Or, when you've revised it so much, the very sight of the piece makes you want to throw up.

    But mainly, you just have to train yourself to stop looking back and critiquing and move on. It's hard not to peek at your past work, but you've usually learned what you can from it within the first three drafts. Then, like it or not like it, you must learn to let it go.

    Also, most every writer will tell you having to look over their past work makes them cringe. Same goes for actors who have a hard time watching their work. Everyone tends to only see their flaws.

  2. You're a sage. And a doll. I've forgotten how we crossed paths, but I'm so happy we did!

  3. Put your brain in the fridge and start singing.

    Do I know you?

  4. Do I know you? No... but I believe I just started following your blog...

  5. I loved this post. What writer hasn't struggled with self-expression and relatabilty(SP)?

    I have very few pieces I can say I am satisfied with... the same can be said for my paintings.

    Being a type A perfectionist and a burgeoning artist is, at times, excruciating for me.

    But we have to remind ourselves if we are sincere in our words and willing to vulnerable there will always be readers who can connect to that.

    Be bold and you can't go wrong!

  6. Here's to being bold and never going wrong!


Speak your mind! *muah*