If you think I know what I'm doing, you're wrong. I have no clue. I read books about writing books, I take advice, and I charge forward before getting scared. It took me 20 years to find it, the courage to write. From writing diaries at 15, to sprinkling my college years with short stories and poems, to doodling screenplays, to blogging; this year I finally publicly admitted that it's what I've always wanted to do. To write a book. A thick heavy book. Pour my pain onto paper, hold it, feel its weight, and then, perhaps, burn it or throw it into the bushes (if it's no good). Then move on to the next, and the next, until it's good enough. How I dared to do this, I'm not sure. The fact that I write makes me want to run and hide under my bed. Every day I battle anxiety over not being perfect, and every day something happens that gently prods me forward. Simple moments that give me the courage. I know you'll probably laugh, but here they are.
When I feel retarded. It happens often. When I'm at some party (or, much worse, at work) trying to explain a certain emotion that has been consuming me for the past week, jumping up and down and waving my arms around or sulking and almost crying. Taking in blank faces that say "Huh?", feeling like a complete idiot, unable to communicate. I bottle it up and later it bursts onto paper. This feeling of complete idiocy pisses me off enough to make me want to write - to try and get it across.
During cheesy moments of joy. When overwhelmed with the cuteness factor of a kitten or an impossibly long kiss or a non-stop exchange of I-love-you and I-love-you-too or spotting of a wild edible berry (because I grew up eating things off the street). It want to tell the world about this all, but it comes out akin to pink unicorns bred under double rainbows and sprinkled with sugar on top. Cheesy. I can't stand it, so I do the same thing - sit down and try to articuate it in words that don't stink.
After a good hearty cry. And I cry a lot. Over books, over movies, over my own thoughts. Over reading Chuck Palahniuk's long beautiful sentences. I go dark, deep into my head. I space out, because I don't think I can communicate this pain over somebody's pain over somebody's pain (it's the reason I don't read news, because I'd cry buckets first and then attempt to save the world). I bottle it up, again, but more comes in. I bottle it up, deeper. After a few days, it wants out, and I find myself writing again. A box of tissues at the ready.
While reading something genius. I tend to exclaim loudly "OMG!" while reading a book, to a surprise of those close by. They wonder what happened, and I stumble in a flood of words, trying to articulate how this paticular author has just blown me away with a choice of words or a plot twist or deep dialogue or a long twisted sentence or a short untwisted sentence. It usually comes out as rubbish, and those close by raise their eye brows and get back to what they were doing. And I hold it and hold it until I make it to my writing time, and then attempt to copy, to try to do the same. That's when I forget I'm afraid to write - because the inspiration is stronger.
If I get praise. On my writing. If someone tells me they liked something in particular. I want to fly. I want to write more. I tell that someone - no, no, it can't be good, I know it's bad, you're biased because you know me, of course it's not THAT good. But, secretly, I soar, and I hope for more. Secretly, I edge towards that someone next time around and casually try to start a conversation about my writing again. What else did you like? Anything? And I'm so needy, so very needy, but on the surface I don't show it. I sit down and write more - to hopefully please that someone again.
There. Those are my moments where I find the courage to write. What are yours?