Today’s question, and my response:
Is there some aspect of the writing life that doesn’t feel the way you thought it was supposed to feel? Is it normal to feel uncomfortable sometimes? How important is it to be able to embrace the ups and downs of the writing life without letting either the highs or the lows throw you off course?
I never thought I’d be writing nonfiction. Although I often conflate events, change names, tweak the details, and clean up the dialog, everything I write, from personal essays to poetry, is essentially nonfiction. And that feels very uncomfortable sometimes. When I was first starting out, I had an established writer tell me that while she thought I was a good writer, my essays were neither humorous nor inspirational. That baffled me, especially because she thought she was being helpful. What was she trying to tell me? Since my writing was good, then I could only conclude that I was a dull person, not worth reading about. Yikes! I’ve since put this little incident into perspective, and what I think now is this: any kind of writing, be it total fantasy, thinly disguised fiction, or nonfiction leaves you a bit vulnerable. The ongoing challenge is to believe in your own worth, and not blow the criticisms or the accolades out of proportion.