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One Cobble at a Time

Examining My Emotions about Writing as Related to My Book Project

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Examining My Emotions about Writing as Related to My Book Project

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responsible woman

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.
The List:

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.

Mirrored from onecobble.com.

  • Oh, I so wish I'd been able to be there last night because as I read your post I see so many similar emotions and conflicts attached to my writing. You named my fears and obstacles so well. :) I've also been leaving the pit open lately and dealing with each as it comes up, one at a time, and I'm making more progress than I have for a very long time. Good luck to you with yours. Thanks for your friendship and insight.
    I hope to be there next time to visit with everyone. I miss you guys. But my father-in-law had surgery yesterday and I knew it was going to be one of those big uncertainties...and it was.
    Thanks for sharing. This really helped me see into my own pit. :) Hang in there.
    • I wish you could have been there too. I also wish we could have stayed for another hour. I hope you can be there next time. I probably won't be though. It's my kids' Spring break and our family vacation.

      I'm glad you're making progress. I am too. Sorting the fears really helps.
  • I wish I'd been there too! I'm going to do everything I can to be there next time.

    When I read this post, I just remember the reading you did at the Association for Mormon Letters event. The guy who won the traditional personal essay award was in shock that your reading was from a blog post, and that you could turn out such quality essay on a daily basis.
    • Really? If he'd talked with me I could have hastened to assure him that many of my blog entries are not essay-ish. More are now than they used to be because I've been practicing.

      I don't know if I ever said it directly to you, but your presentation on blogging caused a fundamental shift in how I saw my writing and what I was doing. Prior to that AML award and conference, somehow blogging didn't count as real writing. Patently ridiculous in hindsight. It was your words which helped me see it. Thank you.
  • This post is so human to me...doubts that often conflict eachother is a very human trait-- the conflicted of the fear of too much sucess contrasted with not enough sucess.

    If this project is imporant to you and others (even though those "others" are unknown right now), then keep at it. Keep working and pushing forward. Push forward even among the doubt.

    I've faced doubt in my goals (espeially in my organzitional skills in maintaining house order). I've learned that you hit a wall of discouragment and to make progress, you must push through it and keep working towards your goal. After two and half years of pushing forward--through up and downs and twists and turns--and few stalls--I can see the hardwork paying off in my house.

    Keep pushing forward, Sandra! I know you can do it!
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