January 8, 2014

Am I good enough? Does it matter?–#IWSG

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join). Once a month we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

My insecurity this month: Am I good enough? Does it matter? By whose measure? At what point in time? Charity inspired my thinking back in October–and I’m still insecure about it!

Becoming a writer should carry a warning label: Beware–dangerous terrain ahead. As writers, we’re always breaking new ground. We write stories no one’s ever read about people who don’t exist. We have no idea if they are intriguing enough for Joe Reader, but we have to put them out there. It’s like wearing a red hat because it feels good (in my case, a black Ugg hat). You have to be ready to stand out, ignore the people who whisper behind hands that you don’t fit in. You must NOT care while you paint a positive face no matter that everyone sports suits and ties–or evening gowns.

I have had mixed success with my writing, making me wonder–am I good enough? The story I wrote years ago from my soul–about early man’s struggle to survive a world where s/he wasn’t king, based on the infamous Lucy–was of no interest to anyone. Agents rejected it. A preview on Scribd got few readers. Serializing it on my science blog (Sizzling Science) went nowhere. I should give up, shouldn’t I? Any sane person would. It’s clear the biography in my head resonates with no one.

But I can’t. It doesn’t matter that no one feels about Lucy as I do. I’m writing her story because I must. Though she lived 1.8 million years ago, she’s me. In fact, her experiences, emotions, thought processes, are so autobiographical, I’m going to rewrite the book in first person. When it’s done, I’ll self-pub.

By any measure, I should not waste the time. I should move on, leave Lucy to be remembered solely by a few ancient bones and artifacts, but my muse won’t allow it. I’ve been writing Lucy for 15 years and I’m not done. I’ve written two other fiction books and over a hundred non-fic, and I still can’t let her go.

In this one effort: I am good enough. No one cares as much as I do to eulogize Lucy’s long-lost life so she is not forgotten. I can do it. I hope when I’m done, I can rest.

Do you have a story like that you can’t let go? That speaks to your soul, your essence?

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, a freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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