If you subscribe to my blog, you know that my posts revolve around obsessive-compulsive disorder and that I sometimes post scenes from the book I’ve been writing about OCD. Tonight, instead of writing about OCD, I want to write about writing. Meta-writing … now there’s something an OC can latch onto! Haha!
Words have been important to me since I was young– summertimes, my mom would have to yell at me to go play outside, since all I wanted to do was lie in my bed and read. We met halfway: I took my book outdoors. My sister and I and the neighbor girl would play “library,” setting all our books out on the stairs to the deck, carefully each selecting one, “checking it out,” and retreating to various areas of the yard to read. They would abandon their books long before I would.
When I was in third grade, I remember creating a whole made-up family of characters so that I could write stories about them. In junior high, I started to mess around with poetry. In high school, I wrote an episodic soap opera and passed it around for friends to read. When the notebook made its way back to me, I wrote some new scenes. In college, I studied creative writing and finally discovered a true family of other writers, who– let’s be honest– are all a little strange. It’s not mean. We just are.
In 2008, I began chicken-scratching some thoughts about my latest Paxil-induced obsession, which turned into a four year novel-writing project that I’m pretty proud of.
Well. That is, until I read some fantastic new book. Then I feel like I will never be more than mediocre.
Readers love books. Writers do too. But sometimes writers kind of hate them as well. Take, for example, last night when I read The Fault in Our Stars, the latest by John Green, and found myself simultaneously DELIGHTED by it and MORTIFIED as it revealed my own weaknesses. One of my greatest desires in life is to be a good writer, and so, reading great writing from others is wonderful/horrible, an honor/shameful, a gift/a rebuke. I would never “forfeit” the opportunities to have read The Book Thief, Jellicoe Road, The Last Unicorn, For the Time Being, Peace Like a River, and absolutely anything by Billy Collins. Doesn’t mean I didn’t seethe with envy while I read.
I complained to my friend Kyle, who wrote me You can trust a good giver that He’s given you what you need. So, take heart, and write.
And my friend Erica patiently encouraged Remember you are part of the body of Christ and have greater purpose. I totally believe in your writing.
Both were needed reminders for this neurotic writer.