Writing prompt from WFMAD (Write Fifteen Minutes a Day – Laurie Halse Anderson):
“What would it feel like if you weren’t dogged by this poisonous sense of inadequacy and failure?”
I am always so surprised when anyone shows interest or connection to my writing. I reconnected with an old college professor a few years ago. I went to college in the early 80’s. I really admired this professor and always felt that my writing must be a chore for her to read. All the other students were so effortlessly brilliant and witty. I often felt slightly breathless at the end of a class, as if I had been running madly to keep up. Now, thirty years later, my professor tells me that she kept a play I had written back then. Not only that, but she had reread it the other day because it made her laugh (with me, not at me, you understand). You could have knocked me over with a feather.
I think if I had an iron clad guarantee that the writing would eventually come right, the screaming critic in my head would die. I would be living each writing moment with faith in my own creative energy. I would believe that ideas, words, the shape and flow would grow out of the initial muck. Fear would be gone. I would not feel the need to control the writing path with an iron will so that only well planned perfection flows from my pen – which means, in reality, that it never ends up touching the paper.
I’m the one who built this internal critic, this screaming banshee. I built her out of fear and doubt. So surely I have the power to banish her for fifteen minutes so I can scoop up some muck and spill it out onto paper. Begone shrew! Out I say! I will write from a place of faith! Perhaps if I pan through it later I will find some flecks of gold, or not, no matter. There is always more muck where that came from. Writing, like laws and sausages, is not pretty to watch when it is being made.