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Assaulted on all sides

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
I am recovering from a nasty episode of self-doubt. It was all very poetic, really. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth about the search for greatness, ever out of reach, and whether the search itself is no more than puffery of the soul.

Since then, I'm bombarded in various places with questions and statements from people who, I'm certain, are posting completely random thoughts that have nothing whatsoever to do with me. However, since my mental status concerns mostly me (see above "puffery of the soul"), I'm taking it somewhat personally.

Which brings me to one of my rambling points today. The answer to the age-old question of "Why Do I Write?" To which the currently fashionable answer is, "Because I must," complete with the requisite hand to brow drama. Or "Because quitting is not an option." (By the by, if a certain Diva sees this, she's going to think I'm mocking her or ridiculing her. I'm not. This has bothered me for years. I'm only just getting to blogging about it.)

Well, excuse me. Quitting is always an option. People quit things all the time. Every day. You can quit writing and still be a decent human being. You just won't be a writer.


Don't kvetch. I'm not quitting writing. Not currently, at least. I'm too mule-headed and annoying to quit now.

Rambling point #2. "Because I must." Every time I hear that, I get this image of some grande dame of cinema noir -- some pale blonde with a fur muff who says it right before she faints onto a conveniently placed divan. Puh-leez. I must eat, I must sleep, I must take care of my family. Writing? Pleasant -- or sometimes unpleasant -- way to pass the time. Yeah, I pull my hair about it sometimes. I do that about a lot of things. I get involved in projects and sometimes they go well and sometimes they don't. Big flittering hairy deal. But do I engage myself in projects like writing "Because I must"? Geez. And I thought I was a drama queen.

No. I write because it's kinda fun. It's more or less enjoyable. It's something I can do at home and work it around the family's schedule. The fact that I'm half-decent at it helps. I do hate to bang my head against a wall doing things I'm bad at.

Which brings me to another point in this diatribe. I'm really only a half-decent writer. And wicked slow, to boot. Hence the whole self-doubt incident. And when I'm wailing about something, I prefer to have time to wallow and I'll pull myself out in my own sweet time. Nothing like beating me over the head with "atta-girls" to yank me out of my comfortable pit. So I'm a little cranky. Sudden yanks do that to me. Which sounds ungrateful to the friends who lent me a hand up. I am grateful, truly. I'm merely settling back into my crotchety skin, which is much tighter through the crotch than my woe-is-me skin, which is excessively loose in the tongue.

Anyway, I just want to say thanks to those who helped me out. Ignore my fussiness. And I'll try to control my melodramatic tendencies if only people will stop saying "I write because I must" in Garbo-esque tones around me. Not unless you see a divan conveniently placed.
1/31/2006 08:58:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments


Wave from another slow writer. I sometimes think I have more doubt about my speed than my ability, though that's a bit silly when I put it out there.

By Anonymous riemannia, at 10:57 AM  

"I'm really only a half-decent writer."

YOu lost me with this.

One word: Bull.

I used to be pretty steady in my output, but lately I've been very slow.

By Blogger Jaye, at 9:29 PM  

The Diva and the Divan, the Opulent Option, the Ultimate Queasiness of Quitting....
Sela, those expressions irk me for some reason too. Perhaps I have my little feet planted too firmly on solid ground to ever be a "real" writer.

By Blogger Bernita, at 6:03 AM  

Hon, beloved, shining one - between you, me and the blogosphere, I write because I'm good at it, I like it, and just once I'd like to do something hard and not QUIT.

So there.

(love you)

By Blogger Anna Lucia, at 7:35 AM  

Slow writers unite! Come at your own speed. *gg*

Thank you, Jaye. I don't feel like a very good writer at the moment. My bare bones writing is feeling scarily skeletal at the moment instead of sleek and clean.

Bernita, I rather like The Diva and the Divan. :)

Anna, you ARE good! Being good at something and liking it are excellent reasons to write. No hand to brow there. And I admire your determination. I feel the same way a lot of the time. Just not at the moment. Blame it on the Pit of Despaaaaiiiirrr.

By Blogger Sela Carsen, at 8:28 AM  

Ana nailed it.

And, I'd like to add, that you are extremely talented. Very serious. It would be a waste if you quit. I wouldn't have asked who I did for help if I had not thought you worth her time.

Have a good wallow. Pout.

Then snap out of it.

I hate those phrases too. Why don't I quit? I'm too stubborn.I firmly believe it's 99% perservereance, 1%inspiration.

By Blogger Eva Gale, at 3:45 PM  

Note to self. When posting a note to Sela about the RWA handouts on CD, do not offer any other encouraging remarks. ;-) Glad to see you are back to your usual snarkiness.

By Blogger Barb, at 12:20 AM  

I tend to roll my eyes at those "I write because I must" lines, too. Writing isn't something I ever have to do--I have pretty much the same feelings about it that you do. I like it, and think I'm okay at it, and I figure I might as well give it a shot.

I like your voice--it's humorous and engaging and very evident in your posts. :-)

Thank you for the link to my blog on the Romance Divas forum. I'm glad you found the copyediting posts useful.

By Blogger Deanna Hoak, at 6:34 AM  

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