I am part of a group of writers who meet every couple of weeks. Rather than spending our time together critiquing, we socialize. Writing gets discussed often, because it is in our minds, but we spend most of our time talking whatever is going on in our lives. This is particularly nice since we all share a social context and have similar viewpoints about the world. We write different things, and have different backgrounds, so the comparisons are endlessly interesting. Tonight we spent half our time together talking about houses. Later the conversation drifted to a place where I started talking about my feelings about my work in progress as well as feelings about writing in general. I’ve been vaguely aware for weeks that my writing time had some suppressed emotion attached, but honestly I was too busy to pay much attention. I did notice that at times I was avoiding writing. What I was really avoiding was the suppressed emotions attached to writing. This evening’s conversation helped me pull the cover off of my pit of emotions and for the first time I can see what is really in there. At the end of the evening, when the location we meet at closed, one friend said “Are you okay? I feel like we’re leaving you in a sad and scared place.” She’s right. Usually we’re able to find some resolution to emotional topics before the end of the evening. I assured her I was fine, but it wasn’t until I got in my car to drive home that I realized why. I needed to leave that pit of emotions open, I needed to spend some time down in the middle of it. I have to be in the middle of it if I want to clean it out.
Next I am going to list what I found in my emotional pit. Please note that at the moment I’m feeling quite analytical and not at all upset. It is very fascinating to me that all these contradictory emotions can dwell simultaneously inside my head.
I know that my book is important. I don’t know why or to whom.
I know that there are things for me to accomplish which require me to finish my book first.
These two bits of knowledge are daunting.
I am afraid that my slowness in getting the project done will cause the project to miss some opportunity, that the importance of the project has an expiration date. Which I will miss. Because I put other things in my life before writing.
I worry about how long it is taking me to revise the project and how emotionally draining the revision is. I know I am far from done with revising. If the book does get published, that means even more work, not less. It is hard to want more work.
The subject matter of my book has very personal elements. I worry about having it publicly criticized and rejected. I fear I will not be able to maintain objectivity about those rejections and criticisms.
I’m afraid that the book will be too successful. I know best selling authors and their lives are crazy. Being paid well would be nice, but the level of stress which comes with that money is hard to want.
I’m afraid that the book will bomb. That it will never earn money nor fulfill its purpose.
I am sad that I don’t have more spaces in my life to devote to writing. At the same time I know that the lack of those spaces is primarily my fault. I choose how to spend my time. If I choose other things, then writing does not happen.
I am afraid to really throw myself into writing. Often time is not lacking, nor is energy, but I save the energy for other things instead of giving it to writing.
I feel like the project is good, but that I am failing in my responsibility to get it done.
I feel like the project is stupid and I am wasting the time that I spend on it.
I know that I will have the inspirations I need for this book when they are needed. This gives me strength and calmness to keep writing when the words feel stupid.
I wonder why this project matters beyond my personal desire to complete what I started. I sometimes wish I didn’t have the feeling it was important so that I could set it aside without guilt.
I want to be done with this stage of the project so I can start learning what comes next. I want to be to the point where I can be submitting.
There are probably more things. As I think of them, I’ll add them to the list. For right now, I’m going to bed.