Tuesday, January 31, 2012


My plot is a muddied mess, the words are leaden, and the less we say about grammar and spelling the better. Such is the state of the current draft, an ill-conceived porridge of random thoughts strung together in a rambling, unfocused, stew of half-considered ideas concerning something I promised to think about later, after I finish this current scene, that is. Some time, anyhow.

Facebook beckons during a lull in brain function and I see that two of my fellow writers have stories coming out in the next month and one of them reports casually that she is writing another complex novel that might take her an incredible three months to finish due to the book tours, GOH appearances, and lunches with her editor and agent.  Were that I was half so successful.  This makes me consider an early morning trip  to the liquor cabinet, but I put a CD movie on instead and forget the blow to my ego for a few hours.

I've always felt like an impostor as I struggle with this word-smithing business.  I find myself lathering excessive attention to words that should come, were I a real professional, so easily. I sweat over the simplest of sentences and marvel at the facile strings of phrases that others produce.  I struggle with plotting, labor at syntax, am unable to assemble a believable scene, and am crushed by emotive writing of any sort.  I know that my few sales have been more the result of dogged determination (and a lot of luck) than any native talent and wish with all my heart that I could match the ease with which others produce their stories.

Did I mention the fear that lurks at my side, that clenches my typing fingers in its cold grasp, that whispers in my inner ear that one day soon I will be found out and unclothed as the fraud I am?  This phantom anti-muse suggests that the editors who see my submissions secretly chortle at my typos and giggle at my infantile attempts at exposition.  This unfriendly Auntie Muse instills within my heart the absolutely certain knowledge that I will never, ever be as good as practically everyone else who gets published. It tells me that I am a fraud, and impostor, and destined to remain a failure.

I try not to show this inner doubt as I show my public face at conventions. I fight to appear competent, fearing exposure the whole time, and seek the company of other writers for comfort, thinking that perhaps a little of their obvious literary capability will magically cling to me.  It is a futile hope.

It is only later, when I talk to other writers in the dim, dark afterglow of a day's round of fora and discussions and in the fading glow of, camaraderie, we speak of what it means to be a writer and what it takes to live that sort of solitary life that we reveal our inner selves.  In the midst of our talk of philosophy, of markets, of ideas I discover that they have heard their own Auntie Muses and honestly, sincerely believe that they are the only ones who have to work their ass off and all, every single one, believes in their innermost heart that it is they who is the impostor.

"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel" -- Steven Furtick

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