In this current thread of writer bests vs. worsts (is worsts a word? It is now.), I’m treading over well-worn territory. To piggyback on Jenna P’s excellent, honest, and oh-so-true post previous to this one, I, too, am a re-published author. Why do I feel like I’m standing up in an AA meeting right now?
My best times as a writer so far include all the obvious things that show me that while I have yet to get The Call, I’m heading in the right direction. Contest finals, agents that actually want to read more of my work, and the like. But perhaps even more, my best days as a writer are when I’m in the zone writing, cranking out word count, and by golly, most of it isn’t crap! Getting in touch with my writer friends, either by text or a long-awaited get-together, is another best. And my brass ring of bests, which I someday hope to achieve, is having a book out there in the wild that hooks a reader so he or she can’t get anything else done until reaching the end. That’s what I want, and it will be the best.
What are the worst days for me? Well, I haven’t had a worst day, per se. I haven’t had a nasty review or been dropped by a publisher yet. And pretty much all the rejections I’ve received up to this point have been well-deserved. But I have had a worst year or two. Sunshine Boy was planned, healthy, and very much wanted. I was so lucky I felt blessed. Even so, adjusting to motherhood was hard for me…harder than I ever imagined. That’s a whole food service-sized can of guilt and inadequacy in itself, but the effect it had on my creativity was devastating. I went from feeling like I was so close to success, to not having the energy to open my laptop. Even for Facebook. And what kind of new mother doesn’t post gleeful accounts of her new bliss on the hour? See, I told you I sucked. For a while there, writing felt like yet another thing I was failing at. And you know the old saw, “writers write?” Well, there was my proof that I didn’t belong anymore. That was the worst.
I didn’t quit, but I gave myself permission to declare myself on hiatus. And funnily enough, that took off enough pressure to get the ideas flowing again. It still took time, though. But time went on, and with it, came sleeping through the night again, and witnessing all the awesome changes that Sunshine Boy was going through. My creativity returned, my sense of self returned, and joy returned. Now, I feel ready to take on the world again, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. In a way, getting through those feelings and looking back from the other side a stronger and better person might actually be my best.
If you’re struggling with an issue, big or small, that’s making you question yourself as a writer, a parent, or a person in general, know you’re not the only one, and it won’t last forever.