Swimming Around My Head


Ever feel like this?

Where have I been? I looked back at my blog, and realized it’s been five days since I’ve posted anything. I must admit at the outset, the impending elimination of my job has hit me harder than I thought it would. I took off Wednesday afternoon, trying to discover where my head had rolled after I, smiling, placed the stupid thing in the federal guillotine. I went to work Thursday, waved to my adoring fans as if I could enjoy nothing so much as appearing at work.

It was all a lie. I didn’t want to be there at all. I choked down the bile and enumerated the ways I could seek revenge on my boss, who had let slip to pretty much everyone in the library that my job had been eliminated. So much for doing this on my own terms, eh? Now I get pitying glances every time someone walks past my cubicle, several times a day, people say “what will you be doing?” (to which I want to glare and say “Drawing unemployment, stupid!” but I’m constrained by the social niceties that dictate office manners). Worst of all is the blow to library morale. Now everybody is wondering if theirs will be the next turkey necks on the Thanksgiving chopping block.

At home, I turned off my phone, my computer and my mind.  I crocheted may be 6 hours; due to a game-ending mistake, I had to rip out approximately 4 hours of work. I spent most of Sunday morning playing an online video game and tried not to think about my situation. In the back of my mind was the constant mantra “I should be writing. If I really want to do this, I should write.”

My writing is inextricably linked to my dreams. I slept, and hoped for memorable dreams.  Have you ever encountered a task that was so big, you didn’t know where to start? Choosing characters, a plot, a setting, thematic issues. Really, it’s the planning of the novel that keeps me from writing it. You may have noticed that I occasionally post book reviews. I’m a picky reader, but I know when someone’s done a decent job. I think that’s my greatest fear–failing to produce something truly readable. I wake up and hope for inspiration. Since inspiration doesn’t come, I make a pot of coffee.  In that five minutes, I’m still not inspired, so I check email. Then Facebook. then check my blog stats… before I know it I’m logging into a silly game, and doing nothing.

Reading a decent story is a dual-edged thing.  It’s inspiring, of course, but also amplifies my fear of failing. I have ideas swimming around in my head (see the picture above), but I’m afraid to put them to paper. That’s it. I’m scared. How pathetic is that.  A writer, afraid to write?

Work will be over in 60 days. If I buckle down, and do something with my life, I should be able to assemble a novel in that time.  This is my goal–to have a work to hawk to publishers by Christmas.  I don’t know if I can do it: like I said, some pitiable fear-demon is lurking in the back of my head.  I have to conquer it before I can move on.

If you pray, send one my way.


9 thoughts on “Swimming Around My Head”

  1. God please take away this fear Brian has of starting to write. You have created Brian and you gave him this talent for writing. Father I ask that you give him peace beyond his understanding and clear direction on what his next step in this life should be, whether to write, to teach, or some other purpose only you know about.

    Love you Brian, will keep on praying for God’s direction in your life.


  2. Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? I always say I’m going to, but I’ve never actually done it. NaNoWriMo, in case you haven’t heard of it, is November: National Novel Writer’s Month. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in a single month, and you submit the work for counting purposes only. Many of the writers who participate in it have gone on to publish something they were working on during this time. It doesn’t have to be a complete work. Hell, you can start it before then, and they will just count the words you write between 12 am November 1st and 11:59 pm November 30th.
    You could even give yourself license to write something that truly stinks for NaNoWriMo, so you can get all the stinky kinkies out of your writing and save all the good stuff for your book. However you want to use it, it could be a tool to help motivate you to write. There is a huge online following, and people even do real-world meet-ups to encourage and support each other in their writing.
    I know you will succeed. Look how many of us read your blogs all the time, and I should admit it now that I much prefer fiction during my leisure reading time. There’s no pressure of a deadline besides one you place on yourself. If deadlines help you work, cool! I’m sort of that way, except it makes me procrastinate terribly. I prefer to write when the mood strikes, and when a story is sizzling hot in my brain, the only thing I want to do is let it out. Whenever you’re done writing it, I will be here waiting to read it. 🙂


  3. I, for one, am looking forward to your efforts and accomplishments. I have no doubt that you will pull it off. Michelangelo began in drawing stick figures too.


  4. Your 1,000th sentence will be better than your 1st one, but you must write 999 to get there. Feel free to “suck” – your perception of your work will always be harsh, but the artist must allow himself to create, even if it is only a tenth of what he envisioned. If we could effortlessly express our dreams, there would be no need for art as we know it. You who choose the creative grindstone go steps and miles and sometimes lightyears ahead of the expression and self-understanding of those who don’t dream or don’t try. And we’ll pay to have a window into what could be, to spare us another day of only what is.


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