I just sent in a poetry submission. To a real publication (I am still unsure if my community college writing contest counts, but that’s a question for a poetry editor somewhere), and I find myself feeling strangely not relieved or excited. Just the same strange strong obligation to march ever onward.
I tried explaining this to someone recently. We were discussing ambition and motivation and life-in-general stuff, and explaining my perception of my life and goals wasn’t very relate-able. Writing is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, not necessarily for money, or fame or success, but to do.
I have to write. Not often or in any particular quantity, but it’s what I have, and I have always felt a weird undercurrent of obligation to do so. Also I’m getting kind of good at it at this point, so it’s easier than say, oil painting would be, in terms of expression of the self.
Anyway, the thing is, not everyone has that drive to share, to express, and I didn’t really know it until recently. Not every human on the planet is constantly obsessing about creating art in ways that other people can relate to. You see the urge in other things, relate-able social media, memes, etc. Storytelling is a part of most human cultures, but not everyone has a tiny voice threatening you every day to write, or else. Yeah, my passion threatens me, what does yours do?
The part we did agree on, in this conversation, was that any endeavor that requires focus requires ALL OF THE FOCUS. This is part I struggle with. I can’t neglect the routine, the self-care, socializing. Those are all things I need to stay sane so I can write. I am never going to be that shut-in genius that people talk about in hushed tones about my dedication to my craft. I like living and doing and laughing, and if that means I blow off editing this damn poetry manuscript for another month, I shall. And you shan’t stop me with your guilt-trip, self. SHAN’T.
Anyway, writing is lonely. Unless you collaborate with another person (and this idea is HORRIFYING to me, because control issues), you’re bound to spend a lot of time alone, with paper. Lots of paper. And pens. And computers. That is an incredibly off-putting realization, for me.
But I just submitted some poetry. And I’ll do it again. And I’ll continue to (very slowly) write this book (and the three others I’ve started since I started that one).