It’s always wonderful to get the chance to work on writing some of my fiction, since I don’t always get the opportunity to write every day. Last night, I pounded out another 1200-word section of a story idea and watched as about two hours just melted away. I had fun, and the time just flew by. It was such a high, getting a new idea written out, seeing the mental image I’ve been carrying with me for most of the week play out in actual written words.
Of course, on the flip side of the high is the almost inevitable low that accompanies it. I’ve “written”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/?p=195 about the sympathetic/parasympathetic relationship before, and its influence is felt in my writing, as well. I don’t always feel low and discouraged right after writing, but it does happen with enough frequency to make me notice. In this case, I finished up my little bit of writing, printed it off for my wife to read, and headed to the kitchen to find something to eat.
In the few short steps it took me to reach the kitchen, I felt exhausted and discouraged, filled with self-doubt. Who was I kidding? What made me think I could ever hope to write as well as any of the great authors? What made me think I’d ever be any more than a hack writer, pretending to write great works of fiction, when in reality it was just garbage that no one in their right minds would read? Where did I ever get the idea that I would be able to actually _sell_ a story, let alone _finish_ one? And on and on and on it went.
It’s true what they say about writers having fragile egos that need stroking. When we write, we write from our hearts. We essentially put ourselves on display for the whole world to see, bare our inner secrets, make ourselves vulnerable is very frightening ways. It’s hard to do, sometimes, and I know that for myself, it makes me doubt my ability to write anything of any quality. The sympathetic system kicks in when I’m writing, giving me that creative high that keeps the mental juices flowing, that keeps me writing with feverish intensity, that makes me think this just may be the best work of literature yet. Then the parasympathetic kicks in and annihilates that high, and I am filled with self-doubt and discouragement.
Of course, after a night of sleep, I feel at least marginally better, and while my writing may not be the best ever, I’m sure it’s not the worst, either. I know that if I keep plugging away, eventually I will finish one of my stories and, Lord willing, actually be able to sell it. Only time will tell the whole tale…