You don’t know what it is to stay a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your unfortunate brain so as to find a word. –Flaubert
Well, I’ll tell you how it is for me: it’s not so much that I can’t find a word as that I am convinced someone won’t think it is a good-enough word. That’s how neurotic I am. I suspect Flaubert would probably concur with this, as would many other writers. I, personally, am in love with language. I am seldom at a loss for words, often to my detriment, and I love writing…when I have little reason to think someone is going to judge it. I also love it when I’m relatively certain someone I respect is going to make a fuss over it. And I will admit, people do usually make a fuss over what I write, when I’m able to turn loose of it and allow them to read it. Here, for instance: blogging represents my ongoing process in putting myself “out there.” So far, it’s working fairly well; when I first started, I was not about to put any personal identification on this site, and I was a nervous wreck every time I took a look at my “blog stats.” It continues to astound me that while people may not be reading what I write, they appear to click on my blog from time to time, when looking for other stuff. And I have yet to drop dead from fear. Imagine that. No one comments, but no news is good news, I figure, and that’s fine with me. Even if no one actually reads what I write, they’ve seen it, however, briefly, and I’ve lived to tell the story.
I’ve was haunted by writer’s block all through my graduate school career, I’ve tried to write for publication for years and succeeded occasionally, and I have this book inside me that has been alternately stewing and percolating for nearly ten years. In fact, all of these things have come to fruition at least partially, but I still hold myself back by my terror. Lengthy self-analysis certainly brings up some of the reasons for this hang-up, but it doesn’t appear to make it go away. What does seem to work is to make myself write something every day; and now that I’m posting it here, putting it out in cyberspace helps, also.
I am currently applying for my first writer’s grant, and the deadline is fast approaching. Most of the preparatory work is done, and I am at the point of polishing up and submitting my application. I would love to find a reason to avoid putting my neck on the line this way, but my self-disgust has grown to the point where I know I have to do it simply for the sake of doing it, whether or not I get the grant. As Hillman would say, this book wants to be written, and who am I to argue?