The idea of writing a novel first came nine or ten years ago.
I was working in a call center and completing a hopeless master degree in Comparative Literature. I had enrolled six years earlier thinking the program would entail a certain amount of creative writing and turned out to be completely wrong. But it was fun and the dream didn't die.
Having nothing better to do, I started writing a novel called Solace. It was about a kid being wrongly accused of a murderous home invasion his girlfriend was murdered in. I canned it after 190 pages because it was not very good and that even the kindest, most well-intentioned readers would tap out after 10 pages. It happens to everybody, right?
Well, I have been writing fiction less and less ever since. It's been a downward spiral into fucking nothingness. For two years now, I have not completed anything.
Time is not the issue. I constantly create time to be left alone with my computer and use my creativity to find ways to avoid sitting down and doing the work.
Insecurity is not the issue either. I might not be James Ellroy, but I have the means to my ambitions. I had twenty short stories published. I understand what publishers require and proved to myself I can provide it in smaller increments.
Inspiration isn't either. It's a fucking crowded highway up there. *points at head*
Truth is, I'm terrified.
Writing is the one thing I've always done better than most people. It defines me to a certain degree, because it's the only thing I know how to do well. It might sound familiar to you, but everyone's been telling me since a young age that I'd write a novel someday and I've came to fetishize the idea as the purest form of creative expression there is and I'm afraid to fuck it up.
I've fucked it up so often over the last decade that it came to a point where I know when I'm going to fuck it up and I just stop writing. I become physically incapable of sitting in front of my computer. It's been over a year since I got over 1000 words in any project, really.
Part of that is fear of success. I'm afraid of the responsibilities it might entail. Of the chance of falling from high grounds. And that fear's been pervading every aspects of my life since I was a kid. I'm happy and inspired when my friends and loved ones succeed, but I could never take responsibility for my own ship. Not when it really mattered to me.
I've had this killer offer for a television project like, six weeks ago, and I can't even get myself to start.
I know it's a stupid fear to have, but there's comfort in status quo. I'm not an unsuccessful or an unhappy person. I have found the love of my life. I'm a homeowner and I have a swanky media job that allows me to write for a living. It's more than most people have. It's more than I ever thought I'd have and there are definitely responsibilities and comfort in that situation. This is some top of Maslow's pyramid shit. I'm aware of that.
So, why am I telling you this, right? I'm not looking for sympathy. Not for advice, opinions, judgement or whatever. Don't say anything. I might just not allow it on the site anyway. Truth is, I'm writing this for myself more than I'm writing this for you. I'm doing this because I need to confront this ridiculous fear. Writing about it and putting it online for people to read will make it a little more real to me. If you know what I'm going through, even if you find it silly, it will stop me from rationalizing it and putting it aside all the time like I've been doing all these years.
I feel numb, but I haven't given up on myself.