“Fate comes a-knocking, doors start locking
Your old time connection, change your direction
Ain’t gonna change it, can’t rearrange it
Can’t stand the pain when it’s all the same to you, my friend”
– Aerosmith, “Same Old Song and Dance”
I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my book lately – the words feel wrong, the sentences clunky, the transitions awkward. You know how it goes: you begin doubting not just all you write but all you’ve ever written, questioning your dedication, your capability, your talent. The very thought of attempting to write fills you with revulsion, and even when you do manage to bring yourself back to the page the only reward for your persistence is more shit writing.
To make matters worse I haven’t been blogging nearly as much as I used to, or as much as I probably should be. The result is a mentality of stagnation, one which encourages self-deprecation and hesitates at the thought of trying to break the cycle. It’s like the only thing worse than doing nothing is doing something wrong. They say you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, but trying and failing often feels a lot worse than not trying at all. If I’m going to fail I’d rather it be because I was lazy or uncommitted, not because I simply couldn’t do it.
It’s like my shortcomings are my own personal safety net. So long as I limit myself I will always know what I’m capable of, never reach for more. I’m like the anti-Icarus: so scared of flying too close to the sun that he never flew at all. This book, this… world I have in my head is incredible and fantastic and powerful and I’m afraid I won’t do it justice, can’t do it justice. Trying to reconcile what you have pictured in your mind with what you translate onto the page is one of the hardest things about writing, because my words rarely live up to the source material.
I know I can’t let the fear of failure keep me from trying, but sometimes it stops me all the same. It’s like this cycle I go through every so often: first life gets in the way of my writing, then when I try to get back into things I find myself locking horns with writer’s block, then the writer’s block develops into doubt, before finally transforming into self-loathing. Of course it never lasts, and sooner or later I’ll have a breakthrough and start writing again – which sounds good, until you realise that this means I’ll never be able to wash my hands of the whole thing. I’m stuck living through this abusive cycle for the rest of my life.
Oh well. Here’s to waiting for the next breakthrough, I suppose.
Until then I always have Netflix.