The Conundrum

For the sake of transparency and vulnerability, I share with you today some of my inner dialogue surrounding the reasons I don’t write here more frequently.
 
I want my writing to be truthful, transparent, and transformative. But I don’t want to stir the pot.
 
I also want to stir the pot. I want to challenge the way people think in a way that gives them space to let down their defenses and challenge the way they think themselves. But I don’t want to offend.
 
I want to be well-liked. But I don’t want to pander.
 
I want my work to be read, to be noticed, and to be important. But the fear of criticism coupled ironically with the receipt of praise makes me incredibly self-conscious.
 
I want to write and to know that others are reading and thinking about my words, but I simultaneously want to never, ever be approached about what I write, in a negative or positive manner.
 
Being approached in a positive way sends me into this tailspin thought process that goes something like this:
 
This person is my friend of course they’re going to say nice things. If they weren’t my friend, they either would not give my writing the time of day, or they would know better than to think it’s any good.
And even this person who is my friend must know that I’m a fraud. That I have no professional expertise or legitimate life experience to be any good at what I’m trying to do.
And if they really did enjoy it, can I trust them with anything ever again? Didn’t they notice how I rambled? Couldn’t they identify my flaming insecurity in all those haphazard words that I stupidly chose to put out there?
Oh no, they’re encouraging me to keep going. But to keep going means to write something I haven’t yet, with an extra dose of potential for awfulness.
Maybe it’d be best to lay low for a while and not write anything ever again. Or maybe I should write more because I’m being encouraged to do so…
But I’m sure the “busy” excuse will suffice for anyone asking in the near future.
 
Being challenged makes my thoughts go something like this:
Oh no, oh no, oh no!
 Please don’t make me explain myself. I probably don’t even know what I’m talking about.
That’s it. They saw right through me. I knew I shouldn’t have put this out there.
Why is it so damn hard to defend my own ideas against criticism? I know I can’t please every one, I should be so far past that fear; I’ve only imagined this same critique in my head a million times. So why am I frozen and uncomfortable in the face of it now?
Sigh…
Please, tell me I’m not the only one?

  5 comments for “The Conundrum

  1. Tabtona
    June 27, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    You aren’t alone in this! It’s called Imposter Syndrome and I think every writer experiences it — some don’t even call themselves writers because they don’t even believe that! And man, I’m struggling with it right now HARD. And all I know to do it just keep writing and pushing through it. Break the dang wall down.

    • Tabitha
      June 27, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Also, apparently I can’t even spell my own name.

      • Gabby Clark
        June 27, 2017 at 10:11 pm

        That’s ok. I knew who you were, Tabtona 😉

    • Gabby Clark
      June 27, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Tabitha, that makes so much sense! I struggle calling myself a writer sometimes because I certainly don’t do it in a way that I feel like other “legitimate” writers do. I’m so inconsistent about it and that, too, keeps me doubting my own legitimacy. I am so, so glad that there is a term for it! Thank you for sharing that with me!

  2. Anonymous
    June 27, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Writing is hard, lonely work – E. B. White

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