Every so often, I have to convince myself to keep writing. Most of the time, I plod along with my writing, knowing that (a) my writing is terrible and/or (b) no one is reading my work. Occasionally, I have to spend an enormous amount of time convincing myself that my writing is not terrible, and even if no one is reading, at the very least, I can say I’m writing.
Rationally, I know I’m probably doing just fine, but the part of my brain run by my uncontrollable anxiety tells me that I need to just quit while I’m ahead. It tells me that my Masters thesis will be terrible, and that if I can’t get through a Masters, how am I supposed to write a dissertation. It tells me that I’m not good enough to be published, even though I’ve built up a solid digital portfolio over the last few years on a few different websites. It tells me that I need to stop blogging because it’s useless, a time suck and it’s crap anyway. I become convinced that I don’t deserve to work with undergraduate writers on their publication because I don’t know anything about editing, even though I spent a year of my life as an editorial apprentice. I just know I will never write anything worth while and continuing to try is simply me fooling myself.
I want to quit so often that it’s a miracle I’m even still doing this.
Today, I wanted so badly to throw all of it away. I wanted to delete all of the drafts, destroy my manuscripts, dump every single one of the many journals I’d carefully filled with my thoughts over the course of years. I wanted to quit blogging, resign as grad assistant from the undergraduate black run publication I’m advising, and give up on my dreams of helping jump start a journal for the Lemon Project, of being a contributing writer for The Atlantic, of becoming Editor-In-Chief of my own publication some day. I became so convinced that I had nothing to say, nothing of substance to add to the world that I even contemplated simply never speaking in class ever again.
The irony of it all is that I wanted to write how I felt.
I wanted to write a blog post about my fears of never publishing a novel, a journal article or an op-ed.
Every time I write anything, I open myself up to critique. In addition to the constant stream of negativity I deal with in my own head, other people get to spew their vitriol at me and my thoughts, if they want. (This hasn’t happened yet, but eventually, I will probably write something that will piss off a solid amount of people.) If I can’t even convince myself to keep writing as a nobody grad student with a blog that only reaches a couple dozen people weekly, what do I expect to do if some day I do write something important and everyone around me is telling me to quit writing?
The wonderful thing about this blog is my ability to put a positive spin on everything: I add a touch of hope, a line about resiliency, or at the very least trying again tomorrow. Unfortunately, this week I’m coming to this with an unprecedented amount of cynicism. I’m not sure how long I’m going to be in this funk, but I suppose as long as I’m still writing, even if it’s about how bad my writing is, it’s better than no writing at all.