Have I written every day since last Wednesday? No, of course not. Have I posted to my blog? No, obviously not. Have I succeeded in staying committed to anything? No.
But I did complete a fail for the week, a short drabble trying to get at a character who has been reluctant, to say the least. It’s frustrating when you want a character to wake up and speak for themselves and do the work for you and they just… won’t. No matter how I try, it might be a long hard slog with this one, one revision at a time. But I can’t let that stop me.
I did have a mini-revelation this morning: “Write true to yourself–even the bad parts of yourself.” I want to phrase it so it’s a little cleaner, but I also want it to be very clear. If I just said “even the bad parts,” it could be taken as even the bad parts of writing. But I mean the “bad parts” of you.
Now, “bad” is subjective here. But basically I mean the things about yourself you’d want to change, particularly as a writer. I wish I had more interest in plot and less interest in romance. I wish I didn’t like all the cheesy waff and stuff that I do. I wish I was smarter, more original, more advanced. But I’m not, and all these things that I am that I wish I wasn’t are parts of me too. Parts of me that I try to suppress when I hear “write for yourself.” But I realized that I have to accept those parts of me, and write for them, too. I can still try to grow and evolve as a person–but for now, I can write through my growth by writing as I am.
It’s hard to accept yourself when you see so many faults staring back at you. Famous people and artists who say “accept yourself” and all the other encouraging slogans often appear perfect to us, so of course they can accept themselves. For example, a “curvy” actress who talks about accepting her curves–when it really just means a bigger cup size and a sizeable but tight ass. Or an edgy indie writer who talks about bucking commercial trends but somehow hit the jackpot of critical acclaim and a fair amount of commercial success as well.
But what if there are parts of you that just shouldn’t be accepted? Should you accept being a racist, a sexist, a homophobe? Should you accept being an unhealthy glutton? Should you accept being selfish, being rude, being lazy? How do we grow and change and be better people and accept and love ourselves just the way we are–at the same time? As a writer, how can I accept myself enough to fight off the constant wave of doubts while also working to learn and grow and not be an unoriginal hack?
I am a huge advocate of self-acceptance and not judging others under any circumstances–in theory. But as far as self-acceptance goes, it’s really hard. And for my writing, when I want it to work so desperately, it’s practically impossible.
But I’m going to try to write for myself–all of myself. Even the bad parts. And grow from there.
Today’s selection, featuring a possibly confusing organization of clauses: But, on this night, two figures sat in shadowed silence at one of the tables while each wondered whether to pretend that they wanted to be there or that they wanted to be anywhere else. Neither was sure what they really wanted.
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