An Exercise in Free-Writing

I often struggle with feeling frustrated or discouraged over things.  It has been a major force in my life, driving my decisions to either do or not do many things.  Most of the time it comes in the form making a comparison between me and others, and always directing the positive light away from myself. In a fashion this could be a good issue to have, as it does often result in compassion or humility.  More frequently, however, it is a form of anti-pride, and pride has always been a problem for me.

Take my writing, for example.  I really do enjoy writing.  I enjoy the feeling of writing something that I know is my best work yet.  I am entertained by the act of putting words to paper, permanently affixing my thoughts to a point in history and space.  I thrive on the use of language, and find it pleasurable to search for exactly the perfect word. One would think it should be enough for me, writing for writing’s sake. Too many times, though, I wish to receive approval from others, and I want to impress people with what I have produced.  This is where I begin to have problems.

I am blessed with friends and acquaintances who have significant gifts in the arts, be it the visual arts, music, or writing.  At times, most commonly when I get into a discussion with these friends about the concepts of writing and creativity, I find that my ideas are divergent from many of theirs.  Typically this should become a situation where people could agree to disagree. It isn’t that simple for me.  I will, in many cases, come to believe that their ideas are somehow quantifiable as greater or of more merit than my own. I go to them hoping for praise, but I sometimes leave feeling scorned or mocked.  I know this is merely my perception, that I have built an entire alternate reality out of assumptions and neuroses.

I discover that I have numerous insecurities.  I feel as if I am missing something when it comes to what I do, lacking a formal education in creative writing and poetry. I often feel as if I am of a lesser caliber than my peers. The junkyard dog of self-doubt and discouragement will bite into the pit of my stomach. It will hang as dead weight, jaws locked securely, for days. I begin to see and focus upon (what I perceive to be) my shortcomings. These thoughts will consume me, spirit and mind.  This cycle typically results in my relenting from an endeavor about which I had once been passionate, leaving it for one of my more capable and worthy companions to succeed.

I also know that I react to things first on an emotional level.  In a lot of ways this serves me as a strength.  It allows me to connect to my students.  It is a quality that helps me navigate the territories of marriage. In many instances it fuels my thoughts when I write.

This particular personality trait can turn on me, though.  It betrays me into feeling foolish when I discuss my ideas with friends. When I discover that others have separate ideas, or that they don’t always agree with me, I think that what I have is of lesser value, a thing that only someone with the taste of “the proletariat” would endure or entertain.  Again, I credit this to the self-doubt I have concerning the fact that I was not primarily educated as a writer or artist, but instead my expertise lies in the field of education, curriculum design, and pedagogy. Of course, we all know what is said about teachers: “Those who can’t do…” I don’t believe this adage to have any merit whatsoever, but it is one of those mocking, twisted little thoughts that screams at me from the alleys of my frenetic brain-city…

So, why am I writing about this? It is because I am currently experiencing a period of self-doubt.  It is what is foremost on my mind. Presently, it is the only subject about which I can think to write.

I suppose by writing about it I can somehow turn it against itself, a Judo maneuver of the psyche.  Perhaps by offering it up as matter for discourse, I can encourage others whom may be feeling the same thing, to discourage the types of thoughts with which I so often struggle: everyone “gets it,” but by some cosmic oversight I, in fact, do not.  I never will, and in this I am alone.  Try as I might, I will not ascend the steps of enlightenment.

Sounds ridiculous, right? In all sincerity, these are thoughts that frequently slither into my mentality and almost entirely paralyze me.

I present it here.  I consider “writer” to be a part of who I am. I sincerely and wholly enjoy the act of writing.  I struggle, however, with fear, with insecurity, and with warped thoughts.  I know, in my head, that this is my imperfection, not my ability or lack thereof to translate thoughts into crafted words and punctuation (though there are, and always will be, some issues with my writing from a craftsman’s perspective.  Otherwise, why continue?). I still struggle with it, though. Perhaps I always will.

Perhaps, if anything, this might become a word of encouragement for someone experiencing the same problems.  I hope that by confessing, I might be freed. I pray that in the future I have a victory about which to write.

I apologize if today’s thoughts were a downer.  Maybe I can lighten the mood with some items of procedure.

Don’t forget that I want to have guest writers.  I would like to do this frequently.  I know that I have been writing this blog for just over two weeks, but I have yet to receive many submissions.  I am in the initial stages of beginning some sort of submission contest, with prizes and everything.  More to come…

If I could ask a favor from those who read my blog regularly, and you enjoy what you find here, I would like to ask that you please spread the word.  So far, Facebook has been the primary source of my traffic.  That being said, it would mean a lot to me if you would re-post or share updates about Poor Scribbler.  Refer your friends. Follow me on Twitter.  I can use all the assistance I am offered. I would also be appreciative of any feedback or suggestions from readers.  Any at all, be it about my writing, the website itself, or ideas for features and content.  Thanks in advance, and thanks presently to all who read my stuff.  It is exciting to know that there are people who stop by my page.  It’s similar to the feeling I used to get before Christmas or Easter.  Pretty cool.

Thank you for stopping by this week.  Come back on Tuesday!


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