For the past few weeks, I’ve had writing angst.
Most writers get it. If you’ve had it, you know what I mean. Symptoms include lack of desire to write; feelings of meaninglessness, pointlessness, and, you know, angst; even feelings of anger toward your chosen career and those who are part of it.
Then, last week, a key broke on my laptop keyboard. You don’t think a single broken key will make that big of a difference in your ability to type UNTIL IT HAPPENS AND YOUR WORLD FALLS APART. Suddenly, my 95 words-per-minute became 30. If that.
This typing problem really manifested when I had a phone interview for an article I was writing and I realized I couldn’t type fast enough to get all the quotes down. Mid-interview, I had to scramble for an external keyboard, ripping it out of my iMac and pretending nothing was wrong and things were TERRIBLE.
Basically, while waiting for the new key to arrive, I was physically unable to make words in the ways that I was used to.
Looking back now, I realize that the broken keyboard was a physical manifestation of my writer angst.
Then I got my replacement key and fixed the keyboard problem myself. I stared at my computer, completely angsty and unmotivated once again. What was going on?
Here I am, writing a blog post, announcing that I’ve had an epiphany. Just like it was my job to fix my laptop—which I did, thank you Google—it is now my job to fix my writing angst. No publisher or agent or newsletter is going to fix it for me.
I realized something kind of amazing this morning. Although it seems like I work all the time (okay, I do work all the time), I’d stopped working for me. Worse, and weirdly, I’d stopped writing. All those books that need writing are not getting written because I’m not writing them. I’m doodling at them now and then, and whining the rest of the time because things don’t seem to be going my way right now.
I would say, “I’m such a baby,” but another important thing I’m learning is compassion, which starts at home.
So: I will have compassion for myself—it’s okay that I was sad about some things that happened.
I will create dedicated writing time again, like I used to, before I pushed it aside for reasons that I can no longer remember.
I’m back, y’all. Kicking that angst to the curb.