Writing down certain words, I feel like there is a peanut gallery constantly criticizing.
That fell flat. Cliche. Are you sure you want to make that choice?
It’s persistent. As if my ego is retired now from all other responsibilities and has all the free time in the world to fuck with my fear response.
My ego is fierce, relentless. And dedicated, of course. My ego wants you to know that he’s dedicated.
I remember about five years after my first novel was published, I got a sudden burst of courage and inspiration to try again.
I mean, I’d been trying, obviously, but the manuscript I was working on fell flat and, you know, got rejected.
Suck it up, we all get rejected. Fucking baby.
Ya, I know, but your ego is nothing like mine. Just make room for me to tell my story without your intrusive cynicism.
So, I took a workshop at a prestigious writer’s school. I was hoping to work with someone I’ve never worked with before for two reasons.
I didn’t really feel like the person I had worked with before cared for me that much.
I always asked him if he remembered me when we ran into each other. And, turns out, that made him kind of hate me a little more.
And also, you know, I didn’t feel like I fit into his genre. I’ve been told several times by my ego, my exes, my friends, my daughter now, that I’m not that funny.
Anyway, as usual, I made an idiot of myself. Going up to this man after his workshop, ‘you probably don’t remember me…’ not having any clue that it might be offensive to him.
Living in my own fog of self loathing and feeling completely undeserving.
And another man at the workshop was really quite angry with me. I couldn’t figure it out but I was shaken after our interaction.
He practically shamed me with his tone of voice and his personal anger toward me. He said, you don’t stop writing once you’ve started. You don’t stop no matter what!
And I was thinking what the fuck? Why is this guy so angry about my personal life choices? I mean, I didn’t get it at all. I just felt shit on.
It was a horrible experience for me. I often did my commute home trying to cry with a quietness that would keep me out of danger because who the fuck wants to pull over on the 401, you know?
The mentor I was given seemed to hate me. I can’t say for sure if he did or if it was my imagination. But I know that I didn’t fit in.
I had created too high expectations of that experience. And the let down of the reality cut hard.
So, I had to shake that off. Eventually I did. I mean, here I am writing again. Kind of. Is that my ego?
My ego sometimes sneaks up on me like a slightly hotter than wind breath on the back of my neck.
I’m learning to stand up to the criticism. I mean, it’s just my ego, right. Part of growing up is telling those fear based lies to fuck off. (My ego actually told me this a few times.)
But every once in a while, I pull out my pen and notebook. Magic happens, you know. Like the words that come out are magic and they seem to flow from some place beautiful and perfect.
This is when the anxiety descends on me. And my ego threatens me. My ego slams my nervous system with every tragic possibility at once. My brain floods with those chemicals that push me toward my basal impulses.
It’s not the typical writer’s block, I guess.
Thank God I have everything I need within me to get through it.