I take back pretty much 100% of what I wrote in my last blog post, all that soapbox nonsense about what makes a writer. I emailed Brad the first draft of my story tonight. Despite what friends and family and faithful blog readers have told me over the years, I am not a writer. I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing. And that is a feeling that I am not used to.
I want to email Brad right now and tell him that actually, I was crazy after all, and there is no way that I am going to be able to be part of the Invictus project. I don’t know how to write and with everything else on my plate right now, the last thing I can focus on is this silly essay.
Is it though? I’m finding that maybe that isn’t the truth. Maybe the thing I care most about is this project. This project that isn’t for a grade and bears no real weight since I’m getting a design degree, not a writing degree. I am looking at design jobs, not writing jobs. This project is outside everything else for me. And that is exactly why it matters so much. And that is exactly why it’s so hard.
I am a control freak. I am a perfectionist. I don’t really take criticism, even when it is absolutely 100% constructive, very easily. It’s something I keep telling myself I should work on but never get around to actually doing. I push myself too hard a lot of the time. I have been taught my whole life that there is failure and there is success and despite all those cliche quotes taped to the walls of my classrooms in elementary school, failure is not a step to success. They are distinctly separate and failure is not a category that I ever want to find myself in.
Except that here I am. My story is weak, disjointed, and not at all what I want it to be. Brad is going to say that I have to get through the first several shitty drafts before I find the story. Dave is going to remind me about the girl from round 1 of Invictus who went through like 87 edits before her essay was done. But I am different. I’m Valerie. I do it all. I want mine to be perfect on the first go-around.
And it’s not, so naturally I want to quit.
Brad, however, just informed me that he is the only person who can kick me out of the project at this point and something tells me he is not letting me off the hook that easily. Which, in a weird way, I’m grateful for. If it were up to me, I’d walk away. I’d keep writing my little bits and pieces on my blog and listening to my friends tell me I’m a “brilliant” writer and believing their lies. They don’t know they’re lying, of course. But that’s the difference between best friends and a writing group. I need both.
I wouldn’t think twice about abandoning the Invictus project, brushing it aside as a distraction from other things I should really be focusing my time on. In short, I would take the easy way out.
But I can’t, so here we are. It’s hard to be vulnerable. I am completely intimidated by this whole thing and despite the fact that I’ve learned more from Brad, both inside the classroom and out, than any other professor I’ve had, I’m kind of terrified of the things he’ll say about my writing.
I want to quit. I want to lie and say that I don’t care about this project, delete my word docs and not look back. Save the writing for the writers.
In reality, it’s not that I don’t care. It’s that I care too much. So I’m not quitting. And maybe eventually, someday, after a LOT of help, I might consider myself a writer. But definitely not yet. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe I don’t have to be everything.
What a concept.