“My own fears that I was a fraud who wasn’t good enough kept any light bulbs of inspiration turned completely off.”
That’s what I said last week.
And, well, yesterday, I felt like a fraud again.
I’ll start from the beginning.
I was invited to a very informal writing retreat at a friend’s house. He’d invited me to one before but since Ella was going through a growth spurt and never ever wanted bottles, I couldn’t really spend a day away from her creating worlds unseen and characters unknown. But now that she’s less needy and I’m less crazy and Matthew is slightly more trustworthy, I was okay to go. I’ve been working on a few writing projects outside of The Curated Life and I figured it would be nice to have a few continuous hours to work on them.
So I kissed Matthew and Ella goodbye and headed on my merry way to be a writer. It ended up just being me and the guy who invited me, which was fine since I had planned on putting in my headphones and drowning in Amy Winehouse anyways. The plan was to work for an hour straight and then take a break. Cool. I’m a person who recently discovered the absolute wonder of routine.
But when the break came and it was time for me to talk about what I was working on, I froze. I became a bumbling, incoherent, breathless fraud. I was tripping up on my words, I couldn’t explain anything right. Though, I’ve never been great at summarizing my fiction but this was on a new level. I was nervous and self-conscious and couldn’t adequately express my excitement for or absolute conviction in what I’ve been writing.
Those feelings were hard for me to shake and after another hour, I went home. Matthew and Ella had fun together but were both obviously happy to see me which soothed me for a little bit. But the fraudulence wouldn’t go away– why couldn’t I talk about my ideas? I love what I’m working on right now, one short story and a novel, because I’m not forcing anything. I used to think about what was popular and what kind of books people liked to read and based everything on that. But recently, I’ve been writing what naturally comes to me, what I’m interested in, and what inspires me. It’s been a much more personal process. But when I was talking to this guy, I dismissed my ideas and purposely seemed unsure of them, like I was waiting for approval. Or like I wanted to call my ideas bad before her or anyone else could. At the end of it, I felt like I’d done myself a disservice and when the time really came for me to own this label of “writer,” I choked.
So this is sort of a sequel to last week– more than just not feeling like a fraud, I need to be proud of what I’m doing. Maybe explaining every detail of what I’m working on isn’t part of my process, and that’s okay, but I need to feel comfortable saying that. I don’t need to dismiss what I’m passionate about because no one else has approved the idea. I guess what I’m trying to say is that my ideas have a place in this world and I should stand by them, defend them if need be, but most importantly, share them with conviction.
Happy Sunday, everybody.