I wrote a couple of “I don’t know what to do” posts because I’m not being productive how I would like.
Then it got worse.
You know how sometimes it’s not what happens, so much as what it triggers? Well what happened yesterday shouldn’t have been that big a deal but it felt like the final nail in the coffin. I have been feeling very hopeless and despairing and what happened felt like validation of those feelings. I haven’t got even close to halfway with NaNo, I’m writing less in a year than I used to do in a month – I feel like I’m losing myself.
When I have expressed these feelings I get told “you are doing a university degree” but I hate the course, I shouldn’t have done it, but I’m too far up the creek and I have no paddle – “the only way out is through”. Besides the course was only ever a means to an end, sure I hoped that I would like it and do well, but I mainly wanted the time it bought me (4 years) and the student loan. I had to get off benefits and I thought it would allow me to live a little longer and get my butt in gear so I could freelance and provide for myself finally.
The problem is I’m doing so much worse than before. I’m in a worse position to start freelancing than I was before I began this. Sure I’m off benefits but my savings are in the negative because I had to self-fund a year. So I’m tapped out AND I owe another four and a half grand on loan. Anyway none of this explains what happened which was I got the results for my first Creating Writing assignment.
I have very low self-esteem but clearly I think too highly of myself. I assumed that I would do pretty well compared to my peers, that I would be mid-top in the class rankings, when in fact I came out bottom third. That was what hurt the most, that I didn’t measure up, even with all my experience over what are mainly a bunch of 18-year-olds. I wasn’t that fond of the comments either, calling my work “hackneyed” and “cliche” but it was the class ranking that kicked me where it hurt.
Intellectually I know that it’s probably not so much a denigration of my skill as a writer, and more an attack on my style/genre. I don’t write flowery prose, I don’t use the “literary turn of phrase”. I didn’t use enough fancy imagery, I weaved a tight plot, rather than doing character introspection and they recommend I do “realist” fiction (aka literary) rather than genre in future.
Now my description could use work, I do tend to skimp on it, and I have been told I’m cliche in the past. Personally I’ve never thought cliche is terribly bad because things become cliche for a reason, and it’s giving people more of what they want in a way. I’ve always been of the school of thought that I don’t want to bedazzle people with my words – I want them to get sucked into the story, so the words kinda fade away. I think that’s the opposite of what the course wants, which is probably for us to write something akin to what they make us read (or rather I don’t read because I find it so awful). I’m not a fan of literary fiction. I made a huge mistake doing this course but it’s far too late to do anything about it now.
So what am I going to do?
Today I took a step I should have done a long time ago and I took my author website offline, and I unpubbed the two books in my series. I haven’t done anything with it in over 2 years, I’ve been ignoring it and that’s not a way to start anything. If I’m going to do something I need a solid foundation because you can’t build a house that will last, if the foundation is full of cracks and half off the ledge of a cliff.
Mistakes have been made. I swore when I unpubbed Singularity that I wouldn’t do that again. I tried to get all my ducks in a row with Divided and if it hadn’t been for November 2016 then maybe it would have worked, but life took a massive swerve and I’ve never recovered. I need to move forward with what I have, not constantly be bitter about how it ‘could have gone’ because I don’t know whether it would have worked out or not – road not travelled you know? There’s no way to tell.
Robert Frost – “The best way out is always through.” (The Librarians)
I have options. I could resurrect the penname down the road, I do like it and I was so invisible that I doubt it will matter. However, on the other hand there will be lingering paperback listings as legacy of past mistakes, so I could burn it and come up with something else.
I’ve sunk a lot of money into Divided, far too much really, but I guess it’s a case of throwing good money after bad. I do love that universe but can I do it justice? Can I fix it? I don’t know. So I could bring this back down the road, or I could just start over with something else – third time the charm?
Whatever I do I need to consider it carefully, I need to take my time and I need to do it right. I can’t rush and do it wrong – not again! I thought I’d done it right last time and then it all went bad, just as it had the first time. Third go around really needs to be the right one and that’s even if I do have a stab at it again. Maybe I should accept that I’m not a good writer, and however many ideas I have, it’s just not something I can do.
The trouble is I’m not sure what I can do. I’m not good enough at anything it seems and I need to do something with my life. I can’t edit as I don’t have the skills, I don’t know if I have the patience to beta for strangers and get stuck reading tons of books I don’t actually like. Trouble is I don’t really like anything and I don’t have the spoons for anything. I’m useless, I really am and I’m too much of a coward to do anything that needs to be done.
So I’m back where I always am – I don’t know what to do.