Monday, November 15, 2010

Optimism Restored

This morning I was feeling a little down.  After being so excited on Saturday night about getting most of the story finished, I lost my happy feeling about it. 

My middle son begrudgingly read a couple of chapters of my children's story.  He wasn't excited about reading it, and he said the timeline confused him.  There's a flashback in chapter three that he didn't catch onto when I read it to him out loud while he did art with my toddler.  I read it out loud to see if I could read it in four minutes, which is my limit for writing class.  It took a couple of minutes longer than that, but then again, the baby kept demanding we help him with the marker lids while we were reading.  I can't really blame the baby, the lids are ridiculously difficult to pop off.  I'm not sure if my middle son wasn't listening to the story and didn't hear the part about the flashback or if it was just boring or actually was confusing. 

This morning I questioned whether I was just fooling myself about being a writer, about my potential to be successful at this.  I told myself the worst thing anyone can tell themselves, "Maybe I really do suck...." 

I pulled myself out of it by telling myself what I would say to my children if they were in my shoes.  I would tell them you have a degree in English.  Your college professors loved your writing (except that one my sophomore year that hated every word I wrote and yelled at me for chewing gum in class).  You got A's in all of your literature classes.  Obviously you can write.  You wrote every day at your last job - OK, it was technical writing and documentation on the software you designed and developed, but still you were able to put words together just fine.  You have written lots of poems and have enough decent poems to apply for a creative writing track in graduate school or even to publish a collection of poems.  You love writing, so write.  You may have some work to do, so work on it more. 

These are the things certainly I would tell any of my children if they were in the same place in life as me right now.  And it wouldn't be BS - I would believe these words.  I would not tell any of them to quit.  I would tell them to carry on and get over whatever bad feelings they may be feeling today.  I would tell them to take a break today, but get back to it tomorrow and to never stop doing what you love.  I would tell them to be patient with themselves and that they deserve it. 

Once I got to the point this afternoon where I was no longer feeling sorry for myself, I was really happy that my son was honest about his confusion over the timeline.  I probably need to tighten that up a bit and make it more clear.  There are a couple other paragraphs that could be condensed a bit as well where I was talking about the main character's feelings about her children (her snake children).  By the time my baby went down for his nap, I was feeling good about writing again and, while still a little disappointed that the story still needs more work that I initially thought, was ready to finish it.   

My teenage daughter came home about an hour later and was excited to read it.  I told her my son's observations and what I planned on changing as well as how I envision the ending.  She was clearly annoyed with me for not just shutting up and letting her read it.  So I walked away and gave her some time.  Eventually, she came up to me and said she absolutely loved it.  She had a couple of grammatical errors that she noted, but basically thought it was fantastic.  She told me chapter 3 (the one my son wasn't sure about) was awesome and full of action and was just right, which makes me feel better.

Now I definitely feel I don't suck and just need a few quiet hours to work on my story.

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