***This post was written on the 27th of November 2019***
During NaNoWriMo this year I almost quit writing. As in I was done and never going to write a word of fiction again. I was struggling to get any words written. I was failing, and have subsequently failed as an Municipal Liaison(ML). My personal life was busy, but good. I wasn’t writing though. I was snatching words here and there and never really feeling like I was getting anywhere.
I hit a breaking point where I realised that I’d failed as an ML. I’d screwed up my own schedule and couldn’t follow through with a commitment I’d made. I’d felt lost at sea with being an ML throughout the month. Luckily my region has two experienced MLs in place so I hope my lack of skill and capability as an ML didn’t cause any major problems. But even knowing that I had two MLs with me who knew the score I still couldn’t seem to step up. I know I could have asked both of them for help (hell, one of them was my official ML mentor!), but I hesitated each time. I felt stupid and incapable of being what I wanted to be. I found limitations in myself that I hadn’t even realised I’d had. Realising all this broke me one day.
In addition to that, I wasn’t getting words written. I’ve had to push back a release to early next year at least and I was feeling lost in a way that I’ve never felt before when it comes to writing.
I hit breaking point.
I was done. I wasn’t going to write anymore. I was a nobody, I had no talent, my writing and my ideas are just re-tellings of stories that have been done to death. I was a hack.
So for a few days I was done. I’d all but decided that I’d fullfil my writing commitments (NaNoWriMo ML and a short story I’ve promised to write), but after that I was done.
Then, one random day Dave B Jeffrey tagged me on Twitter as a genre writer worthy of peoples time. I think I was already coming out of my pit of self-loafing but this yanked me out. Without knowing it Dave Jeffrey threw a rope down that deep dark hole I was trying to claw my way out of and pulled me out. I only know Dave Jeffrey on social media. He seems like a nice guy but as someone with a touch of shyness and a lot of social anxiety I’ve not really spoken to him. So this was a big surprise.
Since then I haven’t written as many words as I’d like, I won’t be hitting even 20k on NaNo, but the ideas are flowing again. I’m seeing ways to solve problems in long term projects that have not gone how I wanted them too (also contributing to the crisis of faith in my own ability), I’ve had new ideas and I’m thinking about how to make the most of the small amount of time I have in the future.
I’ve also got to make sure to remind myself that I can write. I’ve been told this by people around me, but also by peers and reviewers. I’ve had one short story compared to a Stephen King work. A reader mentioned my story as one of the best in that anthology. A second said my story in another anthology has become one of their favourite short stories. I’ve had a writer give me a blurb for that book I’ve had to put back and what he said gave me a smile the size of Australia.
I think I will always have doubts about myself as a writer. Think it’s called imposter syndrome, but I’m not the only one who feels that. I look at people who inspire me and have to remind myself that I can do this. Maybe I’m not ML material, but I can write.
***I’m not in this place anymore. I struggled to get back to where I am but at that time I was so very done. I had quit writing. I had given up. Even though it took a long time for me to get back on track, this one tweet stopped me from giving up on my dream***