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Listening to the voices in my head again

Why does it matter? What do you write for? Why would anyone other than you want to read it anyway?

These thoughts come in the wake of two months when the only writing time I find is after I’ve already burned out my creative energies on book layout or parenting crises. In the middle of it all I had a pounding certainty that it was time for me to begin the query process. I felt I needed to get moving on submitting my book to publishers. So I put together a query and gave it to a friend to critique. Sending out queries sounded lovely, because then the fate of the book would be out of my hands for awhile. I would be allowed to rest because nothing I could do would make a difference. Sometimes that powerlessness feels awful, but lately my life had been full of things which depended upon me. The thought of having one piece finished and waiting on someone else sounded heavenly. Then the critique came back. And it was an excellent critique. And I saw that the whole project needs much more revision. This is not something I can hurry up and finish. This is something I need to take time and do right.

So the voices are fed by my fatigue. If the writing doesn’t matter, then I could let it go. I would have one thing less to do.

It matters. What you write matters.

The other voices whisper and chatter at the edges of my brain. This one resonates from the center. It is like a drum so large that it is more felt than heard. I believe this voice. But I can’t understand why. Why should it matter? Having it not matter would be a comfort in a way. But I know that it does matter, that writing will always be something that is part of my life. Writing will wait patiently during the times when I have no attention to spare and it will pounce on me when time is available again. I also know that I must finish this blog/essay book project. I need it to be complete, although again I don’t know why. I am tired when I think how much more work is involved.

This circle of thoughts is not new. I’ve been on this ride before. The same set of doubts and fatigue have besieged me over parenting, and gardening, and shipping, and just about every other piece of my life. Nor do I imagine I am alone in this. Doubting the value of our labors seems to be built into the human psyche. Knowing I’m being taken for a ride does not make it easy to climb off the carousel. All I can do is tune in to that drumming voice in my center. It is hard to hear, but if I can just follow that voice I’ll be fine.

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