Posted by: pendrops | September 29, 2006

no sympathy posts, please


As I look at stack after stack, row after row, of books at the library every day, I am daunted. I began working on a novel a few months ago, but today, insecurity has plunged me beneath its murky waters. I can’t get my bearings. I can’t breathe. I can’t break free from the slimy grip.

Ultimately, I’m struggling with the fear that I have nothing new or interesting to say. The past couple weeks, I’ve been hard at work researching, outlining and writing an article about returning to a simpler way of life. I’ve read numerous books and articles about how the Industrial Revolution still influences us today, how children spend too much time in front of the TV, how we live with iPods in our ears and the Internet perpetually in our faces.

But a few days ago, I received a weekly newsletter in which one contributing writer took all the words about simplicity right out of my mouth. She said everything I had planned on saying – and a bit more creatively I might add. I was filled with frustration, jealousy, and overwhelming dread. While I acknowledge that there really is nothing new under the sun, no story that has not been told, I fear I don’t have it in me to at least give my words and ideas enough peculiarity to make them seem new.

One of my writing profs said, “When you read something you know you could have never written, then you are reading something great.” I may not totally agree with that, but I get what she was saying. And I don’t know if my work will ever be of that caliber; so exceptional that people will say, “Wow, that Krista, no one can write quite like her.”

I guess I’m just wondering, how do the great authors do it? How do they gift us with believable characters, inviting places, and fascinating scenarios that inspire and challenge our lives? Are they just freaks of nature who have had tremendously dysfunctional lives and happen to be good with grammar? Do they struggle with writer’s block? Are they tempted, as I am, to throw out the babies they’ve carried for days, months, even years in the womb of the word processor?

I don’t have any answers today. No cute quips to end this post. Nothing original or fresh to offer. Only the haunting question: do I have it in me to be a good writer?



    “I don’t have any answers today. No cute quips to end this post. Nothing original or fresh to offer. Only the haunting question: do I have it in me to be a good writer?”
    Apparently you do. I’m sitting here reading your post about your struggle with writing and I am inspired. It makes me want to keep going, to keep writing, and to give the imprint of my unique voice to the paper, even if my first five thousand attempts sound nothing like Hemingway.

    Press on.

  2. Hi, i find that comparing our self to others only will bring two things pride or insecurity. both of which i dont want. so i would say write what you believe and what God has given you that will always be something great and without pressure because it is from your heart.

    i think you do a great job and i would like to think about half as much as you do about things in my life.

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