Putting the Stat Monster to Bed and Writing for Writing's Sake
By DanielleBarnsley on March 29, 2012
Have you ever felt like there is a shift happening in your life? One that doesn't seem to be happening for any rhyme or reason, but the air feels different, you close your eyes, and it feels as though the world is stopping, waiting for you to make your next move. Problem is, I feel like I am waiting for the next move to find it's way to me; I'm doing everything right... I think.
This past week, I received my first, real rejection letter.
When I sent my work in, I sent it with a nonchalant attitude,"Oh well, the worst they could say is 'no', right?"
That was the worst they could say, and apparently, while I was outwardly saying I didn't care, inwardly, the nerdy writer was hoping to all hell that this major publisher would say, "Wow, she's got talent!" The Hubby says it all the time. The BFF says it all the time. It's just not the same; they are supposed to say it. To have someone outside of my writing world say something like that, when they only know my writing and not the girl behind it? Incredible! It's been a bit of a smack of reality for me, that I'm not quite there yet. Not quite there.
My writing has become a source of new life for me. I read what I wrote 11 years ago, and I giggle at my words, yet bask in the knowledge that as a person and a writer I have grown, in many, many ways. I've gone from dramatic posts and two lined blogs on Livejournal about how I was late for work (thank you Facebook) to pieces about the genuine parts of my heart and of my soul. I am writing confidently about an adoption that I was certain I would never talk about. I am writing about the beauty of parenthood, and sometimes the ugly sides of it. More importantly, I am allowing myself to come to life through words. I'm meeting incredible people and gaining much by reading their own experiences through writing. My passion for writing is alive and well in me.
And yet, here I am, hesitating, wondering if I am on the right path. I'm spending nights planning new pieces, analyzing if the next one will be the one that gets published, or if it will go unnoticed in this vast Internet land. I worry when I don't write enough, anxiously concerned that I am missing my opportunity to get noticed. I am always thinking of more ways to better myself as a writer, and to expose myself. My brain and my fingertips are working tirelessly, yet, I feel completely discouraged. I feel like I am missing the point when I see another writer, an incredible one at that, has been featured on a website numerous times, quoted in other blogs, and has a huge fan following. How do I do that? How do I make me, little old normal me, and my dull life seem big, and important?
How in the hell do I get past this self-deprecating talk that comes when I have a drought of no "recognition"? I know at the end of the day, whether someone reads or not, I will write. I've been doing that since I was able to write. I wrote in secret for years, going through journal after journal. I wrote on locked blogs, careful to allow people to read. I wrote for me, for myself and the sanity of my soul.
Now, it feels like I just I obsessively check my stats.
The stats are sucking the soul of my inner writer or rather, The Stat Monster is. She's a demanding little brute. She whispers doubt in my ear when there are no comments on my blogs. She laughs when the hits on my page make it seem like this blog is just another page on the Internet, clogging up said Internet. No longer is it enough to just write, she wants more. More hits, more publishing, more new followers, more retweets. More, more, more. I am left to wonder if there will ever be a point where The Stat Monster will be content with those numbers. When she will just move her mouse to click "Post" and then shut her laptop down, with no worry. Will there be a time where anxiety over being validated, seen, read or accepted into the hierarchy of The Famous Bloggers will subside, and I will be allowed to go back to just writing?
Maybe it's a source of impatience. I want my dreams now. Perhaps it's a self-esteem thing. Or it could be a writers thing? The constant wondering, and hoping, and dreaming of the next piece that will bring the masses to your writing. I know how vital dreams are; you need goals to work toward, you need to have something to aspire to.
How do you fill the time between the reaching and the dream aspired?
The only answer I have come up with: Writing. More writing. More practice, and more becoming the writer I dreamed of being when I was just a little girl with messy pigtails, pencil grasped tightly in her hands, and a notebook on her knees. Now is the time to perfect the story, perfect the art, and just keep going. Stats or no stats, I write because it reaches caverns in my mostly jaded heart and soul, places talking has never gotten me. I write because it documents my life in a way that can be passed on for years. I write because it just makes me feel like me. The girl who feels like a superhero when she has a keyboard at her fingertips and an idea swirling around in her brain.
Stat Monster, you're going to bed for now. We'll likely battle again and again, but for now, I'm going to try not to count the numbers, worry about the hits, or the readership. I'm going to write for me, and because it makes me come alive. No more worrying about when I will become the next big "thing." For now, I will enjoy the way things are, because there will be a time, when it may not be like this, and I know all too well, that I will say over drinks with my friends, "Remember when I was just a small time blogger with no followers?" My dreams say that this will happen. One day, but for now, I need to embrace the incredible work I have already done, and celebrate the smaller steps I'm taking toward my dream of being a writer.
Just write for writing's sake.
Danielle rants and blogs about her life with her two parented children, and other issues surrounding modern day parenting at Tales From The Mamaside. Her journey as a birthmother in a semi-open adoption is documented at Another Version of Mother.
Photo Credit: Monster at the Keyboard via Shutterstock.
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