Why, oh why, am I not inspired to a career in accounting? (No offense to my dad or my brother.) Or a career as an administrative assistant? (Sorry Mom).
Why do I have be drawn to a life which depends on someone else’s acceptance or rejection of my creativity?
Clearly, I am not the least needy person in the world. Shocker! No, really. I have tried to overcome this little glitch in my psyche, but it remains in me. Love ME! Or at least like me a lot. A little pathetic, sure. But hey, admitting you have a problem is the first step, and all of that.
Such a worldview makes it tough to be a writer, especially a freelance one, especially an aspiring children’s book author who puts work out for critique by peers as well as editors. At the same time, I believe that all of us wordsmiths are a bunch of narcissistic, needy, self-absorbed adolescents begging to be asked to the prom.
Sigh. I can’t even stop, because it’s out of my control. I think, therefore I write.
If you know someone like me, be gentle with their fragile spirits. The thick skins we writers are forced to grow have little to do with what is really going on inside. If we were comfortable with those aforementioned insides, heck, we wouldn’t need to write at all. We would be something that didn’t upend our personal lives every time a sentence fragment or lead had us pulling our hearts apart. (Especially those of us writers who no longer smoke, for God’s sake.)
Sadly, my kids spend a lot of time making books. They staple construction paper together and draw pictures. Mitzi or Ray or I oblige with the handwriting part, but the ideas are their own. I hold back my screams: “Don’t do it! Don’t be an artist! Don’t condemn yourself to a life of suffering and poverty!” Mitzi smiles, a little pitying grin, and crafts the latest installment of “A Big Pig.” Unfortunately for her (for all of them, I suppose) there is a talent there. Sigh.
I hold back. And they watch me work at my craft and are eager to hear my latest picture book or a new draft of an earlier piece. They are proud to say that their Mom is a writer.
On hard days I let that be my inspiration.
And barely miss my Merit Ultra Lights.