Ever experience a writing desert, when all your words evaporate under the glare of reality, depression, insecurity, fear?
I hate fear. It tells me nonsense–“You’re nothing. You can’t write. You speak what no one wants to hear, and write what no one wants to read. You’re a failure.”
Yes, I have failed. Many times. And many times have I faced opposition and conflict, sometimes of my own making, but sometimes the making of others.
Ever been disliked simply because you exist? There was a time, about ten years ago or so, when this verse sustained me:
Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light. -Micah 7:8 (New Living Translation)
An avid, voracious reader ever since my entertainment-oriented five-year-old brain was forced into learning by parents who weren’t afraid of educating me outside the classroom, as an adult I’ve read less and less. There was a time when a stack of books checked out from the library on Saturday might sustain me until, oh, say, Wednesday. Now, however, with the increase in editing work and other life matters, books have been set aside. I’ve even committed the horrific act of halving my library.
Reading for pleasure has become almost impossible. My internal editor must be quieted, and my wide-eyed reader must be set free. It’s not always easy to keep one distracted while the other plays.
And then there’s the dreamy writer, whose far-away thoughts and unfocused gaze too often is overtaken by the sharpish editor, and creativity stunted by protests of correctness or authenticity.
I hate fear.
I said that already. Well, I’ll say it again.
I hate fear.
It represses accomplishment and ingenuity, quashes free thought and individuality, diverts excellence into monotony. Nothing can shine or rise or be different, because anything beyond ordinary attracts attention, and with attention comes attack.
Perhaps that’s why some creators fear success. With success comes criticism. Perhaps they only want praise.
Wouldn’t praise be great? But with accolades often comes apathy, the sense of arrival, ultimate achievement.
So, I’ll take a little praise to keep me encouraged, a little criticism to keep me motivated toward improvement, and a lot of courage to keep slogging–nay, striding–through the desert until the words rain down once more and soak into the hard, cracked soil of neglected imagination.