So, I am starting my first semester at Spalding University next week. I’m looking forward to start earning an MFA in creative writing. Of course, there is plenty for me to do to get ready. One of those things is filling out a form that’s supposed to help my mentor get to know me. The form asks that I write a paragraph or two for a few questions. Two particular questions amuse me. What are your greatest strengths as a writer? What are your greatest weaknesses?
I smile. The answer I want to give is highly…sarcastic, sardonic. The answer I want to give? It depends on where I am in my novel. At one moment, I may believe the words, the pace, the characterization, everything is perfect. It makes the world sing. I’m perfect. I don’t need to change a word, a syllable, a comma. To change anything would be sacrilegious. I bask in the gloriousness of my great, beautiful writing and believe myself a goddess among writers. HOW DARE SOMEONE SUGGEST IT’S NOT READY TO BE PUBLISHED? My story should be thrown off an airship made out of chocolate so all can enjoy in the majesty of my work. And as people worship me as I float above them, I shout “Enjoy the sprinkles that is my novel!” WHICH MAKES NO SENSE.
At another point in my novel, or perhaps the same section it’s just a different day, or even an hour later, my novel can feel horrible. My writing is the absolute worst in existence and HOW DARE I EVEN TRY TO BECOME A WRITER? What I write sucks. Nothing works. Everything is cliched and dirty and….wrong. Just absolutely wrong. What made me think that word would even possibly work there? I’ll have readers bleeding from the eyes if they tried reading my work. What I write is hideous and should be forever hidden in a bamboo tree, guarded by a dragon with a grumpy disposition, who also needs a fire to warm himself with. Burn baby, burn!
The best place for me to be is at my happy medium. Nothing is glorious. Nothing sucks. My writing is mediocre. I get the most work done in this state, but I’m also my most paranoid. Everything is mediocre, so how can I kick it up a notch..?. Does this need kicked up a notch or does it just feel like it needs kicked up a notch because I’ve read this section for the 980th time? I think my friends avoid me when I’m in this state. Email boxes fill–often my own as I bang my head against a wall. Sometimes an answer will be emailed back to me. Often my only response is a headache as I try to figure out what email note 129 means by: J needs to turn into a p so she can kiss B. And dance with the fluffy masked creatures that want to kill her. And don’t forget about the purple striped and blue polka-dotted elephants.
Did I even write this email? How did it get in my mail box?
I’m losing my mind.
Care to guess what state I’m in? What state are you in on your own writing? High, low, paranoid-mediocre?
Post your response in comments, or anywhere else.