This is sort of a part two, but not really.
Resorted to cooking yesterday in order to recapture the elusive sense that I am actually able to do something well. The back and forth (or to-ing and fro-ing) with editors, potential publishers, interested relatives and friends began at 4am morning.
The area which had become my no confidence zone, was my writing. Having bad feelings whenever I hear of someone publishing a novel (I have a few that are unpublished).
So, am I jealous, or is it envy? It’s the one where I want in too. I don’t want to undo the success of others.
Sidebar: There has been an unintended consequence during the past seven or so years during which I have donned the mantle of “writer.” I’ve become resistant to reading. My auto-compare ap is instantly engaged as I turn the first page of any book, be it fiction or non-fiction.
Can I write this well?
Am I a better/worse writer?
#1 is an almost objective assessment
#2 sits squarely on the ego-centrism/shame continuum.
It’s pretty hard to take the constant review going on in my head and avoidance often wins out. So counter to EVERY bit of advice for writers, I’m reading less not more.
Silly girl. Get over yourself. But I have lusted after publication the way many covet money or fame. Well, both are indeed involved here.
From the deepest depths of “I am not worthy” to the heights of “I’m a freaking literary genius,” my mind caroms along. And, somehow, through it all, I keep writing. But some wonderful novels are getting dusty on my nightstand. Must buck up (I tell myself), press on, don’t give in to petty emotions.
So, now, interest in my science fiction novel came (as all things must) out of nowhere two days ago. But, close on its heels was a demand/assumption (by the prospective publisher) that I get a thorough editing by a professional outside editor. This lead to an exploration of just what that would mean. It would mean, among other things, spending a big chunk of change ($thousands!).
Let’s look at this. Interest, yes, but no guarantee of getting my words into print. A guarantee of spending money with an unknown (recommended by the publishing house) editor. A sick pit in my stomach and an inability to sleep. Not good.
After obsessing, researching, overcommunicating, cross-emailing, mis-emailing (uh, sorry…), and then going round that circle a few more times, I decided to make a meatloaf. No, that’s not metaphorical or euphemistic. I went to the kitchen, organized ingredients, chopped, sautéed, etcetera-ed.
For the next hour, peace filled me. I stopped thinking about my fears and jealousy and all that chazerai (look it up). I was unambiguously engaged in a process that would produce the intended result.
It not only was a break in the manic action, there was dinner for us later. By the end of the day – even with the calming interlude of cooking – I was fried and toasted. When the meatloaf reappeared, it reminded me. I am who I think I am – at least in the culinary realm. I’ll take it.