Saturday, April 21, 2012

Draft draft draft draft

I suppose that title could refer to the wind you can feel moving through this space. It is almost empty, but still there is that feeling, like you've walked into what might be a scary movie. Somewhere, someone (or something) is hiding.

I guess that something is me.

Really it refers to the fact that when I go to my dashboard I see a line down the middle of the screen: draft draft draft draft. I have been thinking a lot about writing, I have even been doing some of it, but somehow the publish button stays unpushed, just unrealized potential at the bottom of the page. I've realized a lot of it is fear. I am terrified of writing. I was about to stop myself and say, "No wait - I'm terrified of people reading what I write and hating me (or worse, not loving me)," but that's not true. I am a little bit terrified of that, but I think I am just as much afraid of writing and hating myself.

I read. A lot. I am not afraid of reading. I think I'm an amazing reader. I see nuances and imagine settings  and feel characters and laugh at all the right spots (and some I'm probably not supposed to). I appreciate and recognize great writing. And it paralyzes me. Because it makes me want to do that, too. It makes me want to find just the right words and capture feelings and truths and tell stories that take you up and down and around and around. But what if (and this will happen, undoubtedly) what I write isn't as good? What if it's just terrible? Somehow my body must be convinced that if this happens I might die. That's the only thing I can think of. That is the only good excuse for not doing what I know in the depth of my being (note: find a better line than depth of my being, ugh) is something I need to be doing to survive. The world doesn't make sense until I write it down.

I'm taking a course on writing for a living. In the first class we talked about that - the idea that one writes because (and I almost quote) something something spider weaving web of words from the soul something something. Which is a perfectly good reason to write, but not really to write for a living. So now I'm trying to find that spot, where I can write for me, for my soul and so on, but also write stuff that people want to read. And that people want to pay me for.

I suppose it's also partly a war that's happening within me between earnestness and snark. I like funny, snarky writing. I really do. I also find myself in that age of aquarius place where I just want the world to be full of love. But I still want to be funny. And it's kind of hard to be funny without being mean. (Thing I just googled: how to be funny without being mean. Judd Apatow comes to mind.)

And now I have written all this and am feeling slightly anxious about putting it into the world because it is just a bunch of ideas and I feel like it should be a perfected essay in order to go out and be read, and if I try to wait for that right now it's just going to stay a draft and so I'm just going to push publish.

Most of this is inspired by reading I've been doing lately. Other blogs. Especially ones where people are dealing with desire and doubt. Like Christina Kelly's. That name feels so good to read again; those Sassy ladies felt like... what and who I wanted to be. 


Chefwendyb said...

Hey Ange, just keep pushing the publish button. At first your ego gets in the way. I think it's the terror that someone will read it and think you are some sort of nut case. That's what I felt like anyway. What if my writing sucks. Oh God. But there is power in passion. That feeling falls away with each publish until by number 25 (where I am) you are just being you and to hell with them if they can't take a joke. I like what you wrote. You are where I was. I wrote at least 20 before I hit the scary p button. Now it all goes out and some fairly interesting people are actually reading me. Are you taking Ed Keenan's course? So am I. If you are, say hi!

Ange Friesen said...

Thanks, Chefwendyb. Dratted ego. I usually think I'm so over it, but then I get to something so... intimate, and the fear comes back. But I won't die from someone not liking something I write. Even from them hating it.

I am taking Ed Keenan's course, and I will say hi.

Anonymous said...

Don't fear the snark! Polite writers (which I have a feeling you are) can't help but be polite, even when they are poking fun.
That's the cool thing about writing, if you have any command over the English language (which I have a feeling you do) then you will express yourself precisely as you want, neither more nor less snarky than you feel appropriate.
I've only read the tiniest bit but you have a way with words. You need to build your confidence a little but will happen. Keep writing about what you love, what you know and what you feel. Even if it is daggy, even if you think it has a limited audience.
You may just surprise yourself.
Good luck!

Ange Friesen said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I saw the email notification of your comment and sighed (another DOWNLOAD IRON MAN 3 NOW comment), but then it was quite a lovely little vote of confidence. You are exactly right: I worry about being daggy (a word I had no idea existed before just now), and I worry about a limited audience. That said, I know that I enjoy reading what other people write about the kinds of things I write about, and if there's one thing the Internet has taught me, it's that when you combine all of the people interested in any given thing, no matter how specialized, that's a whole lot of people.

Me said...

Did I write this? It feels like it, only it's more eloquent than my post would be. I 100% relate to everything you said, and I can't offer much advice because I struggle with the exact same thing, exactly.

Ange Friesen said...

Me, you did not write it, I did, but I'm glad it resonated with you. A LOT of what you write feels the same for me, too. I love your writing.

Me said...

That is the nicest thing you could say. Thanks. And yeah, I know I didn't actually write it, but it feels like it came from my brain. Glad to know we feel the same way sometimes.


Email me at thenewisthetrue (at) gmail .com
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I think I might be addicted to books. And noodles. I need the ocean. I want to know everything. Almost. I love love. And loving things. Like love. And like.