I am neglecting this blog, but in fairness, I am neglecting my writing, too. It has been really hard for me to open Scrivener and continue with part two of The Cliffs this past month. I made significant rewrites to my first two chapters of this section, which does feel good, but I am so far behind from where I had hoped to be. That fact makes it easier and easier to blow off writing every day, creating this awful, soul-sucking feedback loop where I don’t do work because I’ve “already blown” it, and then I can scold myself for continuing to fail.
This is not a cycle I am unfamiliar with. I have struggled with anxiety and depression my entire life, and stalling this process is the perfect excuse to shame myself. At least I can see it for what it is, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to pull myself out of it.
If I am being honest, part of my hesitation to forge forward is that I am afraid. I have shared parts of The Cliffs with strangers on the internet, but as I work through this rough draft, I grow closer to finishing something. To having a manuscript. That will be shared. With people in real life. Who will read it and critique it before it becomes anything substantial, and then who will read it and critique it again if it does.
I am scared of what people will think when they read it. I have never been comfortable putting myself out there, the timid, shy girl in the back of the room. In high school, my creative writing teacher picked the story that was the catalyst for The Cliffs as her favorite piece that was written that semester. She announced it to the class, and while I obviously very proud, I still didn’t have the courage to attach my name to a different piece I submitted to our literary magazine. I remember being totally floored reading through the table of contents: every one else was brave enough to claim their writing as their own. Mine was the only one written by “anonymous.”
But I can’t submit a manuscript as anonymous, and I can’t be an author without my name. I need to learn to be brave, to learn that I am not perfect (and neither is my writing!), and that it’s okay. My new and revised goal is to have the rest of my rough draft worked through by the end of March. I don’t have to hate myself every day for failing to meet end of February for part 2.
I only need to continue writing. Nothing else matters.