Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

May 2, 2011 -- 3:18 p.m.

I've lost my mojo.

I said to myself, 'I'm going to spend the whole summer writing and revising. By the end of it, I'm going to have two great novels, and they'll be ready to send out by the time I start my grad school classes, and everything will be so peachy!'

And then...there was...meh.

This hasn't happened to me for awhile. It's been few weeks since I was able to do something remotely productive. I've been able to do little things--write a scene here, revise one there, but mostly I have a big plate of jiggly-squat.

It's possible that I just got burned out trying to do so much last quarter and I need a break. Maybe I need a change of scenery. Maybe I'm just stressed out because my car isn't working, I got moved to a different ward, I just saw my potential workload next year (staring at a school schedule that has advanced statistics/price theory and 9:30 a.m. makes my heart go thud), a single girl in a relationship crazy subculture all heated up over the silly pageantry of the royal nuptials, etc....

But whatever it is, except for small things, there's so much wonder and happiness and joy in my life right now, yet it all feels like it's sitting there at a slight remove. Kind of like when you're at this great party but all you want to do is go home and sleep.

I think it circles back to one idea: Good things stress me out, because I feel like, being so lucky, I'm obligated to do something wonderful to offset the fact I'm not living in a gutter or burning because my husband didn't like my dowry. I'm one of the luckiest, happiest, richest people who has ever existed in the history of the world, and nothing I can do will ever be superb enough to make up for that fact.

We're preprogrammed to root for the underdog. So what happens when we wake up one day and realize that we are the overdog? We're the enemy team in all those dumb sports movies. We don't deserve the success or joy that life handed to us on a platter, and we can never live up to the burden of being awesome enough to deserve our largess.

I think I can't write because I'm too afraid. Too afraid that no matter what comes out, it will never be good enough to justify my existence. At least, in potentia, the pages I write are perfect. Not so when they come out of my fingers.

My friends, my writing groups would make derisive noises at me, reading this, because I do write good things. But are they good enough?

This is the problem with authors' tendency to conflate their work with themselves. If my work = me and my work = not good enough, then, by the associative principle...

Well, you get the picture. The thoughts are stupid. But they're there, lingering in my lizard-y subconscious. I don't want to fail, but I don't know how to succeed either, because the thresh-hold for success to justify my happiness is so outer-space impossible that I would have to be Neal Gaiman on a Gandhi cracker to even brush my fingertips along the bar.

Or maybe it's something else that's making it so hard to look at my books with anything but revulsion. I hope writing all my thoughts down in a nonsensical internet screed will help me overcome this sense of ennui and fear that is clouding my creative processes.

I miss the days when writing was fun. How do I get the fun back?


  1. Lee Ann Setzer said...

    And then, in the middle of a rant about her mediocrity, she uses the phrase, "Neal Gaiman on a Gandhi cracker."

    Obligatory raspberry noises.

    Jack says "Ghandi Cracker" would be a great name for a rock band.

  2. Unrepentant Escapist said...

    That would, indeed, be an awesome band name.

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