not only neurotic, but a writer too

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.

8 thoughts on “not only neurotic, but a writer too

  1. Ah, I’ve been here, and I expect I will again . . . and again. I, too, am a writer, and I think it’s par for the course, especially for those of us with OCD, to doubt ourselves as writers. In fact, I’ve been going through some of that lately myself.

    I find that it helps if I can focus on the joy of writing itself and detach a bit from the results. If writing is what you want to do, and feel that you must do (as I do), then write!

  2. I LOVE that whole outdoor library thing when you were a kid. I spent a lot of my youth with my face buried in a book. Brings back good memories.

    I’m not a writer, but I do sing, act, and direct. I feel mediocre literally all the time so I think I understand where you’re coming from. Your friend Kyle is right, you CAN trust a good Giver. He’s equipped you for His purpose. Most times I step on stage and I feel so inadequate, yet the Lord gives me what I need to accomplish His task. Not that my stuff ever comes out perfect or anything, and there’s always tons of room for improvement, but it’s always been good enough for His purpose. I say use any angst that you feel and pour it into your writing! I’ll read it. : )

  3. I have this issue constantly with art. Its good to see that you can find a way to work through it. I can’t do that yet. I know it’s not good, but I can’t seem to help it. This post was really nice, though, because if you can do it, I can do it XD

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