Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Duality



Do you ever feel that as an author you’re divided? That there are two opposing sides of you? The guilt and the elation, the pride and the despair in your writing? 

As I traveled to the Surrey International Writers Conference I was a hot mess. When I arrived in Canada and went through customs I was asked several times what the nature of my visit was, business or pleasure. I felt like yelling ‘both!’ then giggling hysterically. I refrained, however, and sedately told them ‘business.’ 

It was a rush. I was legitimate! I was a writer, going to a conference! It was very validating. Yet, at the same time I felt a fraud. I had to stop myself from explaining to them that it really was business. No, really, how could they even question it. When no one actually had. The second time they asked I almost answered pleasure, because how could someone like me actually be considered a ‘real’ writer. I had too many rejections for that. Then I remembered how many published, award winning, NYT best-selling authors say they feel like a fraud. And it was back to validation.

I was getting a head rush from the mood swings. What other career can cause such swift and extreme changes? But I think we need both sides of the coin. The fear in our failings keeps us working harder, keeps us trying to improve. The belief in ourselves as ‘real’ writers keeps us going through the rejections.

Or maybe I’m just legitimately crazy.  

16 comments:

  1. High fives. Totally feel the same way. I'm not sure when I'll feel legit. It just seems wrong to call something so fun a job. Or to compare myself with writers I admire, who seem more like heroes than writers. Sigh.

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    1. So true. I don't think I could compare myself to my favorite authors, ever.

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  2. I often felt the same way in my previous career and waited for years for someone to call me out as an imposter. Perhaps it is more about the type of person drawn to writing than the career itself? :-)

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    1. Interesting thought, and I can easily see that being true.

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  3. I can soooo relate. Of course, another way of looking at it is that we love writing so much that surely it's a pleasure rather than a business ;)

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  4. Can so relate. I can't believe I am really a writer now who makes steady money from writing.

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  5. Good for you in claiming it. I had a period when I first started home schooling where I felt like a total imposter. When I say period, think 7 years. Fake it until you make it, eh?

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    1. Fake it until you make it. It might take me more than seven years though.

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  6. High-five for being able to refrain from the giggly "Both" answer, because that was probably harder than you're letting on. ;)

    Otherwise, I think you've perfectly articulated the struggle that so many writers have. I like what Crystal said, though!

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    1. It actually was pretty hard since I was working on only a couple hours sleep.

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  7. Agree with Crystal. Good for you for being so self-aware. I think we all go through that moment when we reach a fork in the road where self doubt rears its ugly head. Despite the uncertainty of your feelings, I hope that overall, you had a fantastic visit to Canada!

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  8. Gosh, I wonder if I would even have thought to say business. But you're right -- it is!

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  9. Sometimes work can put us in fun places, so business can equal pleasure!

    I do agree that fear of failure can keep us from putting 100% into things. That's why I try to write for the joy that comes with writing instead of thinking too much about whether anything will come from my project. The key word is "try" because the insecurity still lurks in the back of my mind.

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