Saturday, April 27nd, 2022
Dear Freedom Friends,
First! I am sorry for my extended absence and so glad to be back!
Second! Look for my new series (published Thursdays beginning in May) focused on food prices, inflation, recipes, tips and tricks, behavior patterns, consumer marketing, historic values, the long-honored ethic of thrift and our traditional, innate pride for a meal well-prepared and a dollar well-spent.
Third! Here’s why I was incommunicado for most of March!
Writers face challenges unique to their craft. An electrician hopes to not get fried, a trucker hopes to not lose his or her brakes on the downhill side of a mountain pass and a writer hopes to avoid a few, very specific pitfalls. This month, I stumbled into all three of them!
Write Every Day. This is what successful writers do. They write, and the result is good, bad, ugly and crap. Then, they revise and edit! The ugly crap gets tossed into the waste bin, the bad gets upgraded to acceptable and the good becomes passable enough to see the light of day (and the reflection of your eyeballs). But, none of this happens if: You. Do. Not. Write.
Imposter syndrome. I’ve never experienced this before. And, it sucks. This happens when a writer begins to have some success and their reaction is to believe it can’t be possible. Their new agent, editor or Substack subscribers have all made a terrible mistake! I’m so, so, so not worth reading! Aaaauuuuggghhhh! (Why does she scream and run the other way whenever she sees a keyboard? Hmm. That’s strange.) You get the gist.
Clean my toilet with a toothbrush? Sure! Happy to do so! (Said every writer ever, who was avoiding sitting down to write, at any cost whatsoever.) Of course, some writers take up residence in the ice cream aisle, empty the liquor cabinet or binge-watch all eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries (in my case it was 2 Seasons of Madame Secretary). Others are a bit wiser. They seek legitimate distractions. If your writer friends’ home is suddenly spic & span clean? It’s time for an intervention.
Here’s how it played out for me. Imposter syndrome hit in Nevada, as I sat at a Loves Truck Stop, tapping away on my keyboard at 4:30am. I’d gone to bed early and woken up to take a shower, then polish and publish my most recent substack before hitting the roade in time to enjoy the sunrise. Still, I was tired and my thoughts weren’t flowing. In that brief moment — like a perfectly aimed stealth bomb — self-doubt landed. From that moment onward, the drive became harder and there’s no point in writing when you’re overwhelmed, right? I was warmly greeted upon arriving home, and of course I should take some time to unpack and connect with my family. Our winter housemate had recently moved out, so of course I needed to clean the spare room and find a new housemate, asap. Pressure washing the driveway would help us find a great housemate, so of course I endlessly blasted a 2-inch wide swath of green stuff off my pebble driveway for two long, long days in a row. My knee is still messed up (gotta see the doctor), it was time for my 6-month dental cleaning and my annual skin check, and, and, and…of course (!) the pantry needed to be organized and restocked, what with inflation looming (no, sorry…already landed and emptying bank accounts everywhere). Right?! Plus, there was that amazing Greenhouse I was gifted (thanks to our local “freecycle” FB group) and wasn’t that a huge project in need of several work parties? And, and, and…
The truth is, there’s no limit to the number of distractions a motivated writer can find, if the pay-off is a legitimate excuse to avoid putting fingertips to keys and, by doing so, risk proving that one truly is an imposter.
So. Here I am. All those projects are completed (and then some - did I mention the garden and chickens?). My mental stumbling blocks are behind me; shoved and relocated into some obscure space where they’re no longer stopping me from sharing my thoughts. And, my oh my, what a long, long list of topics are on my list, just waiting for me to take a bite out of them!
The truth is, I love to write. I love to learn. I love to research. I love to think! And, I honestly love hearing your thoughts! Comment away, dear friends. Comment away!
Welcome back, March, and thanks for this thoughtful reflection on the writing process!
In this sentence:
“Imposter syndrome. I’ve never experienced this before. And, it sucks.”
I assume you meant “I’ve experienced”? I don’t usually nitpick about typos but just alerting you to this one since it affects the meaning.
What does it say about me if I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever experienced imposter syndrome, at least when it comes to writing? Maybe it’s because I’ve been writing since my mom taught me how to read at four, so it’s always come naturally to me. And I’m the one who puts off cleaning the house *to* write, so I have the opposite problem and our house looks like the aftermath of an atomic explosion 😆
Not sure if you noticed, but I shared the link to your survey in the announcements section after this piece:
• “Letter to the California Legislature” (https://margaretannaalice.substack.com/p/letter-to-the-california-legislature)
I look forward to learning the survey results and seeing you put them to use for the good of the world!
Dear March, I love your writing! I love the bold font (which visually breaks up the column of text) and the “but I digress” tangents!
My favorite writer re the creative process is Eric Maisel. I am currently reading his recent book, The Power of Daily Practice.