The Madness of Writing

Now that I’ve stepped through this door, broken this threshold, and entered The Writing Life, I simply must stay. I must keep writing no matter how maddening it can be.

But it is maddening putting these words out here and wondering if, hoping that they will be what somebody needs.

20140108-114507.jpgThe truth is that I don’t know anyone else quite like me, but my brain is the only one I know to write from.

And so I pull these truths, these stories, these musings out of me and put them out here for…well, for someone…

I am touched by the people who read regularly. There are people I see in-person that tell me they’re reading. And they tell me it is good. And I am so grateful.

But I do get discouraged because those doubting voices try to mess with me and say that something can be good but still not meet a real need.

I don’t want to be a good writer.

Lots of people can write well even with nothing to say.

I want to say something.

But I don’t just want to say something, I want to say something that somebody needs.

And while I get lots of “attaways” from people, I still wonder if I’m meeting a need.

Of course, that itself is a rabbit hole of madness to wonder because how can I even know? How can I possibly measure?

And what if simply reading what is on my heart meets a need all on its own? Maybe, just maybe, the regular readers are having a need met by reading and the reality of them sticking around should clue me in to their satisfaction. Just maybe.

But no, I’m far too mad to let that be enough.

I want more notoriety. Somehow I reason that I will know my writing is needed if I get noticed by more and more and more people.

I’m not sure how or when the desire to be noticed became so strong in me.

Only this…I get jealous when I see a clever post from someone else get shared and reshared around the Interwebs. And I think I write clever things and I wonder why my links aren’t flying through cyberspace.

And it sounds so silly to admit this petty jealousy.

I am petty indeed.

And it is maddening to be so petty.

And I know in my brain that this all takes time and I can’t expect to go from obscurity to notoriety in 10 silly months.

I know, I know, I know…

But the madness is that I hoped I would be the exception. Of course I know I can’t expect overnight success, but I wanted it anyway.

So petty.

This Writing Life messes with me like that. It draws from my deepest, wisest and best while simultaneously exposing my pettiest, silliest, and worst.

So maddening.

But I refuse to let the worst in me be an excuse to squelch my voice. I’m going to keep writing from this brain, this heart and I’m going to keep hoping that somehow, sometime, something of it will be needed.

The only thing more maddening than this Writing Life would be if I quit. Luckily, I’m just crazy enough to stick with it.

5 responses to this post.

  1. I love this!!! I’m in this same place this week. Let’s keep living this life together, Jennifer. 🙂

  2. Posted by Robin Hood on January 10, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    In the world of online fiction, the general consensus is that reviews are like crack for writers…

  3. Posted by catherine on January 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

    This obsession, this maddening situation– is exactly why I personally have made a practice of NOT blogging. The vain part of myself would LOVE to be asked to guest blog for my friends’ blogs (I could cook something for Lora’s blog, for example) but I am aware that the point of guest blogging is to share your readers with one another, hoping for more hits… a guest blog from someone who doesn’t have a blog doesn’t really make sense.
    So I appease myself by running a little blog for my parents (currently on hiatus because they have taken a break from their adventures for now) and I try to remember to encourage my friends who have made the leap (which, honestly, I might make the leap in another stage of my life– just not right now with my little people).
    I recently was the only person to show up for a La Leche League meeting here in town. There is a passionate, kind, funny, knowledgable woman trying to resurrect the group. She has tried many different formats for meetings, and nobody comes. I was the first one to come in months. She is frustrated. I told her about Simone Weil. About how she was terrible at calculus, but she continued to practice it. Not because she believed she would ever get better- she was truly awful at calculus. She continued because she believed the practice of concentrating and doing your best at something that is not giving you gratification is actually a good practice for prayer. And related this to how if you are doing something but receive no gratification, that perhaps you are truly doing it for God! I of course told the dear woman that I DO think La Leche League will eventually grow, though it may be slowly. But that in the meantime, her dedication to the right thing- to supporting women who want to breastfeed their littles- was demonstrated by her dedication even when she had no fruit.
    So, when things do not go great when I plan something or people don’t show up… I just call this “A Simone Weil Moment” and offer it to God and keep on keeping on.

    Be careful with your heart as you put it out here and you feel ignored or rejected. You want to serve people, you want to touch people… and this is not a bad thing! But to do something for the glory of God, or to allow God to touch your own heart through the process, is also a high calling. Sometimes everything jives together and goes hand-in-hand. Sometimes not.

    Ugh this is long. I hope you can hear my heart instead of my words- I am sure something came out insensitively or something. But I have thought about this post for some time, and about Simone Weil.

    The end. 🙂

    • Sweet Catherine, you do my heart good. 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your heart here. Half the blogging thing for me is the discipline to write regularly, so that in itself is reason enough to keep at it regardless of the attention the blog gets. Still, the attention sure is grand!

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