Most successful writers in today’s world of fiction often have such credentials as having studied English or earned his or her MFA in Creative Writing. Most live in the big city with a partner and have a few animals. Many teach, are members of various writing organizations, and regularly contribute articles and essays for popular websites and magazines. Most real writers started writing as far back as they can remember without cease and dedicated their lives to creating amazing stories that have drawn in countless fans and critics alike.
This isn’t me. I don’t check these boxes. My background in writing consists largely of fan fiction and academic assignment writing. I live on a military installation with a husband and three small children who take up most of my time and energy. I am unemployed at the moment but have professional experience in various sectors of the economy. I haven’t taken a single creative writing course. I don’t meet the criteria. My credentials are severely lacking.
I am not a real writer. I am merely a stressed out mom with big dreams and an even bigger imagination, posing as one.
Writing my book is the biggest con I might ever pull off. It certainly seems that way, at least. Things started off so easy, so effortlessly that it almost seemed too good to be true. And that assumption has become the reality in recent days, as I have struggled to move forward with my first novel, finding inconsistencies, changing story lines, rewriting chapters, reorganizing flow… things are just a mess. And now I sit here, left to wonder, if this was all just a ruse, a con, my attempt to impose on something in which I have no formal training, education, and just took a stab at one day.
It’s an interesting feeling when you get stuck in your writing. All the negative things you’ve pushed past to even put pen to paper suddenly comes roaring back as if they were merely put in a closet, not driven out all together. Your characters might mock you, or hassle you to do things in your writing that maybe you are not altogether comfortable with, or may have their own opinions about what they think you should do. Don’t laugh. Truth is, whether you are deep in the thralls of, or just beginning, your writing journey, your characters become a huge part of your everyday life. You are in charge of them, what they do, who they love, what choices they make, their ultimate fate- everything is at your own disposal and to do this with success, they have to stay with you.
Another thing about feeling stuck is realizing the fear that maybe you aren’t a real writer after all. This has been a feeling I am personally struggling with as I write this post. I had mentioned before that my first attempt at writing a novel started off relatively easy, that this book was pretty much writing itself. I was just there to put the words in the right place. But as personal experiences have changed and inspiration has suddenly switched gears, things have been slower to come. I’ve struggled with finding the right words, knowing when and/or where to add, change, or delete scenes, figuring out if I should change a character’s personality or goals, and even deciding on whether or not I should change my ultimate ending. I knew the book writing process would be a process, something is not done in the span of a one month or even two. This process consists of times of unbelievable writing sprints, where the words flow continuously from pen to page as the river flows into the ocean. And then there are times where I feel as though I am in ever sinking quick sand wherein I feel overwhelmed at the task at hand and that perhaps, I cannot cut it as an author; that it was all pretend and now the adventure must end. But I have found in the last few weeks as my blockage has increased that I am being afforded an incredible opportunity to pause, look at my work, and really determine if it is going in the direction that I wish for it. It is easy, then, to feel and even come across as an impostor, but really I am allowing my characters dictate their story.
It is my goal as a writer, hopefully one day a published author, to write stories that my readers wish were true, for the stories I pen to speak to the hearts and souls of those who read them, to create characters with which my readers might love, love to hate, and possibly even identify. I am an impostor. I argue with myself time and again. I go in and out of stages where I think this is all a ruse. And almost everyday, I tell myself that I have no idea what I am doing and at some point I will come to my senses and quit. I don’t fit the mold. I am in no way truly tortured, although some might argue at kids add a certain degree of chaos to your life in such a way that some days you look at them and wonder if they are secretly torturing you. I might not be a writer in the traditional sense of the word, but I’m writer-ish. I have stories and characters who yearn to tell their stories. And poser or not, I’ll be damned if I won’t give a voice to them.
Write (Or Pose) On,