I’m not as good of a writer as I’d like to be.
I’m really, really not. There’s all these stories I’d like to tell. There’s techniques I’d like to incorporate. And I can’t do it. Sometimes I don’t even know where to start.
It feels a little like trying to sing well. I know how I want my voice to sound, and the notes I’d like to reach but I just don’t have the control to do it.
This is not, I’m convinced, a matter of ‘gift’ or ‘talent’. I just haven’t trained the skills. I haven’t practiced enough.
Sometimes the knowledge that I haven’t practiced enough haunts me– usually when a scene I’m writing is falling short of my goals. Then I want to give up, tuck the story away and do something else: read a book on technique, or start a new project that won’t be so difficult, or take a nap and hope I wake up feeling better.
But books on technique don’t make up for practice and repetition, and one thing I know I need to practice is finishing works, and I can take a nap later. I have to sacrifice some of my ideas on the altar of self-improvement. If I don’t write, I’m not going to get better. And if I don’t get better I won’t ever be able to tell those other stories I want to tell, the ones that dance in my head out of reach because I haven’t climbed high enough yet.
If I want to write all the stories I dream of writing, I have to write. Now or later. Better to suck it up now, yes?
As somebody wise told me about the handy small child’s first attempt at making a peanut butter sandwich: good jobs often follow terrible ones.
PS: I don’t think NIGHTLIGHTS is terrible. But it could be. It’s probably not the astonishing work of unexpected brilliance I’d like it to be, either. You’ll have to let me know in July.