I think it's safe to say I'm in good company. ACB is feeling it. SBB is, too. And it's not a topic I haven't hashed out with KakiBlack any less than a thousand times prompted by a hundred different circumstances.
This life is not perfect. I am not perfect. It is what it is.
I make it my goal to be authentic in my writing. I figure it serves no one well for me to write about anything other than the life I genuinely live with the voice that is organically mine. I long ago made peace with the sort of laws of imperfection that exist around us all; things are not always as we wish them to be; the hair, the clothes, the status, the days just don't always fit as comfortably as we'd like; there's that something we can't seem to quit, or that something we can't seem to begin. However, the more days, months, years, and experiences I accumulate the less I want to be anything other than what I am in all the becoming. I'm okay with the work in-progress. And though I don't love everything about myself or my life or my way of doing things, I don't spend a lot of time trying to be something I am not or comparing myself to any one else.
Until the times when I do.
I want to be a writer. Like, a lot. I have loved to write and photograph and chronicle as long as I can remember. (Ironically, for a woman that doesn't answer her phone I feel like I have a lot to say.) In recent months I have dreamed of it and ached to do it, disappointed when there isn't time and so contented when there is. I have brainstormed topics and thought some things through. I have networked a little here and there in places where blogs can get a little bit more exposure (because, after all, writers want to be read in the end). And I have read other people's blogs, particularly those of other "successful" women bloggers.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Um, not so much.
What I have found myself doing is sinking underneath the sea of other writers out there. Even now just thinking about it I can feel my chest tightening at the thought of the overwhelming number of female bloggers/writers who have carved out a niche or branded themselves into these forces to be reckoned with. They write about everything: motherhood, home life, marriage, career, fashion, food, homesteading, crafting, spirituality, health. You name it, it's being written about, and often better - or at minimum, more thoroughly - than I could write about it. At least that is how it feels because that measuring stick I pride myself in not pulling out much is not only pulled out, but is measuring my writings against these - or worse, my life against theirs - and I'm carving out notches to mark all the places where I don't measure up.
I hate that feeling. And all the measurements and comparisons seem to tighten like a vice grip on my throat, on my written voice in particular. I ask questions of myself I've never asked before: could I write more like her, about more of that? Should I twist this thing and contort it to try to make money out of it? Do I continue to nurture a deep-rooted passion regardless of who notices or am I looking to peddle some gimmick that will stroke my own ego by raising the number of readers? I hate these questions. This is not who I am.
I believe I have a healthy and balanced confidence in my own writing, and in this life I live as a whole. And to have allowed myself as much time as I have lately to make comparisons and draw misguided conclusions severely erodes that confidence and my morale. There are some exceptional women writing some exceptional things out there, and some who aren't. And there are some who paint a picture of an unattainable perfection, an I-have-it-all-together-at-all-times-ness, that I can't identify with but have wondered lately if I should fake. Then, I remember. There are a lot of writers, but there isn't another one with my voice . . . because my voice is only mine. And your voice is only yours. It's worth adding to the chorus.
If you've forgotten or maybe even doubted, you're in good company.
Use it. Don't lose it.