I cannot possibly write today. Here is a list of reasons why.
I had a rough day at work.
I know, I know. This one has been used a million and three times, but please, just hear me out. I write and edit for a living. I know what you’re thinking, but stop. This isn’t the kind of writing that most people dream about. My job does not consist of my sitting around waiting to be inspired or wondering what my characters are going to do next, at the same time stressing that I’ve already spent ninety percent of the advance from my publisher. No, my job is writing and editing somewhat dry, often obtuse pieces of medical literature. It’s a living, though. I bring home my decent paycheck, and now I am trying to use it as an excuse to get out of doing my other writing—the writing that really matters to me personally. You scoff, but you have to understand that sometimes when I have finished with work, the last thing I want to do is write more. No more paper. No more pens. No more tap tap on the keyboard. I know personal writing is different. I should feel invigorated by it, and many times I do, but there are just some nights when I don’t want to look at another written word. It’s like chicken cordon bleu. You may love chicken cordon bleu, but if you’ve had fried chicken for lunch every day for the last two weeks, you probably don’t want chicken cordon bleu for dinner. You may also want to get your cholesterol checked.
Boo-fucking-hoo, right? Who isn’t tired? I don’t even have children or a long commute, so why should I be so tired? I shouldn’t, and that is what worries me. I never thought I would feel so tired at this age. I’m not talking about a-little-sleepy-after-dinner sort of tired either. I’m talking about the kind of tired that makes you ache, the kind of tired where you can’t muster the energy to do things you love, like eat pie or have sex. I’m talking about being so tired that you can’t even sleep. It doesn’t make sense, and I think there may be something wrong with me. My iron levels are fine. My thyroid is dandy. I don’t have sleep apnea or any other malady that could be identified by hooking me up to a bunch of wires and telling me to have good night’s rest. Maybe I just need more coffee…or less coffee. It must be one of those.
It’s not the writing I am afraid of per se. It’s hard to pin down exactly where the fear comes from. Sometimes I’m afraid I have no talent, or not enough talent. Other times, I am afraid of failure. What if I finish my novel and no one wants to publish it? I’m also a little afraid of success. Yes, that sounds twisted and whiny, but say I write my novel and it gets published. What if it doesn’t sell? What if it gets bad reviews? Could I stand to see critics tear my life’s work to pieces! But what if it does sell? What if it gets fabulous reviews and flies off shelves and I sign a three-book deal only to find that all my ideas are dried up and I only had one novel in me. I’ll be humiliated, and I’ll have to go crawling back to the job I left when I got the book deal, but they’ll have already replaced me, and everywhere I go to look for a new job, all people will want to talk about is how my book was so great, and why don’t I write another one? But what if that doesn’t happen? What if I write a second book and a third and a fourth and I become rich and famous? Will the money change me? Will I become one of those snobby rich people who thinks she’s better than everyone else just because she has a little bit of cash? I don’t want to be that woman!
What’s that? You’re not buying it? I should just shut up and write? Yeah, that’s what I thought.