Thursday, June 02, 2011

Stuck

I have deleted every first sentence I have tried to write for a month. Nothing I write is good enough, witty enough or explains what goes on in my brain enough. I am feeling frustrated...I am well and truly blocked.

So today, I decided I am just going to write, stream of consciousness, and publish. If none of you read it, that's ok with me...I just have to get something out there.

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All of your life you have battled perfectionism. The more you succeed, the more pressure you feel to continue succeeding or face the thing you fear most in life: failure. Yes, you know failure is a normal part of the creative process; indeed a normal part of living. And on the surface, you can talk a good game. You Know failure is often the path to success, and that you are not a bad person if you fail. You even know that failure depends upon how you define it. Thomas Edison is purported to have said he didn't fail 99 times creating the light bulb, he simply found 99 things that didn't work, bringing him closer to that thing which would. On the surface, it sounds great. But it doesn't quell the anxiety regarding climbing higher and then going splat when you fall.

If success is a Tree, you are stuck sitting in it, and there is no K.I.S.S.I.N.G there. Eventually, you grew tired of the vertigo when you looked down, so you stopped climbing. Oh, you made some lateral jumps here and there, but you pretty much remain safely ensconced on the sturdiest branch. When you look up, you see, high above, teetering in the wind, that all elusive *SUCCESS*...whatever that looks like. And along the way are some perilous branches that would rather break under your weight than support your journey towards the top. So, like the smart primate you are, you found the most comfortable spot and camped here. While others climbed to the top of their tree, towering above all, you sat. While they mastered the tree, and then whole forests, you sat, content in the safety of where you were. While others planted seedlings that grew into saplings and finally towered over the rest of the arboreal layer, you watched, convincing yourself that where you were was the most comfortable place; chasing dreams was impractical, and with one ill wind they would come crashing to the ground. You could not help feel a small prickling of envy. You shut it out.

So what does that mean? Simply this:

You are tired of working to make other people money. The only money made by "content farms" and "featured blogger" sites is made by the owners of the sites. The money doesn't trickle down to the writers. They work hard and get little in return. Most "Brands" don't have respect for bloggers; they seem to think bloggers will work for nothing. P.R. firms send out mass emails figuring bloggers will jump at whatever meager offer they send , because bloggers are just housewives anyway, and free stuff is cool. They really have no idea what to do with bloggers. Along the way, some P.R. firm will throw a couple of tickets your way that you might not have been given if not for your internet presence, and so you feel validated. At least for a while. You try to maintain your integrity, and only focus on what might be a good "fit" so that the writing is the focus. And you write. Or at least, try to write.

The currency in social media is renown, but it doesn't pay the bills. At the end of the day, what do you have? A blog that everyone knows, sure. Here's the thing: Other sites have steadily eroded the traffic of blogs. Conversations take place across platforms now, and the instant gratification of blog comments is mostly gone for all but a handful of the top bloggers. And what keeps you going? Maybe this post...this idea that you must share...will be the one to catapult you to Internet Fame, and then the endorsements and syndicated column and book deals will come rolling in. Only, it doesn't happen. You've lost sight of why you started writing in the first place; before book publishers even knew blogs existed. You wrote. Because you loved it.

You have been blogging since most of the big names have. Over time, you have watched many of them get book deals, and each time, you died just a bit more inside. You always fancied yourself a writer. At almost 45, you are not saying that anymore. You are just some housewife with an internet connection and a keyboard. Nothing more.

What sets the big players apart? They know something you don't. They have to be visible. They promote themselves. They TELL people how good they are. And the more they say it, the more they believe it, and others believe it, too. They pitch companies and write book proposals. They have a plan. You? You don't work that hard. You only ever wanted to write, not sell yourself. Besides, you were always taught that good girls don't brag on themselves; they let their work do the speaking for them. That's your problem to overcome, and you really haven't. Somewhere deep inside, you still feel like you are not good enough, that you don't deserve what others have And because you cannot get past that hurdle, you cannot succeed.

Which brings you to where you are right now: sitting on the sturdy branch, In a tree that you never really wanted to climb in the first place, with no idea how to get down, resenting those who have mastered the game before you ever even knew the rules.

------------------------ ****

My blog has become a "have to" not a "want to." It has caused my anxiety to rise at the mere thought of trying to type a collection of words and hope they make some semblance of sense. It has become a slap in the face, a reminder of what I have not accomplished. I have no idea how to make it fun again, but I am not willing to abandon it completely. Much like an errant child, or a disobedient dog, deep down, no matter how much it pisses me off, I still love it.

3 sent chocolate:

Nancy (Spinning my Plates) said...

You're not alone. Keep writing. For you. If for nothing else, just for you. The rest is just bullshit.

Accidental Expert said...

I agree. Also, please know, you and your writing gave me the inspiration to start my blog. You are definitely not alone and you've made a difference here.

Anonymous said...

I am not a blogger or a major blog follower, just a mom of a kid with HFA and another with other challenges. I have found a lot of comfort in your posts, knowing that I'm not the only one living this life. Your writing makes me smile. Sorry to see you going through this frustrating patch. Good luck finding your way, and thanks for sharing.

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