Last week was something that I really had to get out and superseded this post here. This means there’s a little bit of overlap in material, but only just a little.
There’s a lot of self-disclosure involved in writing. You think really hard about what you’re going to say, how you feel, you spill your guts onto the page, and then you shove it out into the world for other people to read. To know you. To hopefully, one day, understand you.
This happens even when you write fiction – not that fiction writers are just writing semi-autobiographical stories, but you can see what types of lessons they get out of the scenarios they think will be compelling. You see their values in the way they expect certain characters to be received.
And then, of course, you have the general vulnerability of working hard on something that gets released to the world (and the trolls), open for anyone to walk past and spit on.
I’ve been feeling a lot of this self-consciousness since I started this path. My whole life I was told that creative jobs weren’t worth it, that I’d starve, that anyone who thought they could be professionally creative was just some loser child who didn’t know how the world worked. Despite all the cheery, silly posts on this blog and on Twitter, this has been the undercurrent of my life since the beginning.
So here I am, starting a new series on this blog. I thought maybe I’d talk a little more about myself and how I actually feel about going through all the changes associated with being a writer. Just on Tuesdays. I’ll still talk about writing tips that I learn or am learning or am trying. I’ll still provide more emotionally-detached updates on this process. But that’s a Saturday post. Today is dedicated to learning how to share a bit more about myself and my experiences on the job, and getting more comfortable with self-disclosure, while keeping on this side of TMI.
I put in my two weeks’ notice at work over a month ago, and when asked why I was leaving I wasn’t able to tell them the whole truth. I told them that I was stepping away for my health (which is 1,000% true). That health problem was being forced to work a job that kept me from the one dream I’ve always had, though. But explaining to them that one of their last developers was leaving to go “be a writer” felt so childish.
I can barely say it out loud to my spouse, who was the person who coordinated this exodus with me. It comes out occasionally, but I blush immediately after. Hide my face.
It also has a bit of humility in it as well. Not only do I feel like a foolish child for the dream in general, but thinking you could actually make a living off of any creative endeavor is admitting that you think you’re good enough to do so. Which is a perfectly okay thing to think about yourself, but it wasn’t when I was growing up. They taught self-esteem in school, but they socialized self-deprecation, adults and children alike.
And don’t get me wrong: I know I still have a long way to go before I’m NYT Bestseller material (if that’s even possible), but I’m not hopeless. I need practice and feedback and to learn so much, but I bet can get to “pretty okay” one day. I think. Maybe. We’ll see. Until then, I just need to keep moving forward.
There you have it, folks. The
first second of many posts where I actually write on what I really wanted to make this blog about in the first place. I’m always open to questions, but until then I’ll just keep writing about what I’m thinking or feeling I suppose.