So I'm going to share something vulnerable--something that I couldn't effectively share outside the World of Writers. (Because, let's face it: nobody else understands!)
(Disclaimer: I am eating a Christmas cupcake whilst typing this, which may or may not have an effect on my writing.)
I'm pretty sure we've all experienced that moment when, while reading a novel we're really enjoying, it hits us that we could never write something quite so brilliant. We couldn't plot it, couldn't execute it, couldn't even think it up in the first place. And when we begin that self-deprecating comparison game, we spiral downward.
Most of the time, we spring back again and continue along our merry way. But it still doesn't feel very good while it's happening.
(If you tell me that this has never happened to you, I will not believe you. No, I will not.)
So, yes, I've had these moments over the years. "Moment" may not even be the right word, because it's often a lingering sense of "I can't write worth a chunk of deer dung" that lasts for days. It doesn't diminish my enjoyment of the novels that are sparking the response, but it does diminish my enjoyment of being a writer, if only for a little while.
Not good, right? Normal, for sure. But not good.
Well, something amazing happened a few days ago. I was re-reading one of my favorite author's novels, and I found myself thinking, I WRITE AS WELL AS THIS.
And when I realized I'd had the thought, I fell over.
Okay, not really. But ARE YOU WITH ME HERE? I have NEVER had a thought like this. Admittedly, I have sometimes read something that was so awful I had the opposite thought--as in, good-grief-how-did-this-crapling-slip-through-the-net--but mostly the books I am fortunate enough to crack open aren't craplings. And the treasured few are, well, really good.
So for me to have this moment of I CAN DO THE SAME THING was huge. Five years ago, I wouldn't even have been able to conceive this thought. Heck, even a year ago I wasn't anywhere near having this sort of experience. So, naturally, I didn't trust myself. I'd only read three chapters when the thought came, so I told myself I'd keep reading to see if my opinion changed.
It didn't. I STILL FEEL LIKE I CAN WRITE AS WELL AS THIS OTHER PERSON.
I'm not sure if this means that I've "arrived" emotionally (wouldn't that be nice?), or if it's actually an honest assessment of my writing. Of course we're always evolving, always growing as we write. Of course I'm insanely excited about my current project (aren't we always?). But something feels different, and it's a good sort of different.
Probably I should stop trying to analyze this and simply enjoy it. It isn't every day that I am so far above self-deprecation. It isn't every day that I give myself real credit for doing something well.
I'm not saying my story is "better than so-and-so's". I'm not preening and gloating. I'm...well, sanguine. And that's an unusual place for me.
I think I'll stay here for a while.
I wanted to share this with you because I trust that you'll understand. You'll get it. And maybe you'll have your own moments of self-confidence to share in the comment box (which, of course, is what I really want).
I know that my journey will continue to experience the ups and downs that are an inherent part of this writer thing. But this up is a huge one, and it's definitely some sort of turning point. What it's turning toward, I have yet to know.
Thanks for listening. And maybe smiling and nodding a bit. Writing is hard! But being a writer is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me.
I hope you feel the same way!