The Comfort Zones

It happens to me sometimes, especially at the moment when it seems as if things are going in the “right” direction, when there is a possible lighted tunnel with something at the end, something I can’t quite make out; it is blurry, but it is there, that something; it is right at the beginning of this tunnel, this lighted journey, that I begin to cower. All that comes to mind is some type of mental shut down, my mind or brain says, ‘you can’t do it, and I don’t want to do it, we are comfortable right where we are’. What am I even talking about you may be asking yourself. I was recently accepted into a writing program. It is with a writing group called The Attic and the program is called The Atheneum. I had originally applied thinking I would not be accepted. I wanted the practice of applying. The application for acceptance was a piece of writing. I sent in the first 25 pages of my novel and a goal sheet of what I wanted out of the program. I wasn’t accepted at first. There were only twelve spots, and only four spots for fiction writers. I don’t know how many people applied, but I’m certain it was well over twelve. I was sent a very cordial and personal rejection letter. I thanked them and going off the basis that I may have been a close contender (which I really didn’t believe I was) I wrote the thank you letter along with a request for a small bit of feedback. I didn’t expect a response but every one recommends writers do this, in fact if you can you should do it for any job that you didn’t get (if it is what you want to do with your life). I received another letter all unexpected. A fiction writer had been offered a job out-of-state and I was the alternate, so by a crazy chance default and by my novel having enough emph to hold onto the title, I got in. I have no money. The program is around $3,000.00 but it isn’t the money that is getting me down. I am planning to have a fundraiser and looking for ways to raise the money since I am on a payment plan. I have a lot of people who want to help me out, in fact I am surprised with the amount of support I have around me. I am on the threshold. I am at the starting line. It was a fight to get into the race and here I am. It is how hard I work and how drive I am to make it to the finish line that will determine how this new opportunity plays out and what possibilities it offers at the end. I have a group of people cheering me on and suddenly, suddenly, I am really scared. I have a child inside me saying, “I don’t want to be a writer anymore. I could never be a writer.” I know this is the moment I need to push myself the hardest. I’m not even sure what I am scared of, after all isn’t this the thing I have been looking for, writers to work with and mentor with, a place to learn more about the craft, my craft and my voice? And, it was my manuscript, my novel that I have been working on (off and on) for years, my novel that got me into the program, shouldn’t I be elated? Aside from the worries of how I am going to pay for it all, but shouldn’t I be elated?

I think in the past I would call myself some kind of a freak or accuse myself of being lazy (which I may still be) but in the truth of the truths or as far as I know of the truth, I think I may be pretty normal. I am jetting along with all the same fears of failure and success that almost everyone else feels. I am comfortable in my failures as an “artist” as a “writer”. I am more comfortable talking about the wanting then the doing, although I am working, I am writing, but putting my work out there… I don’t do that, not voraciously at least, and I can not honestly decide if I even ever want to. It is comfortable in the isolation with no one to tell me they don’t like it or do like it, what if it sucks out there? And what if it doesn’t.

Sometimes I wish I had wanted to be anything other than an artist, anything else but an actress or a writer.

To distract myself from my fears I like to look up interviews and advice from established writers. I am not looking for the How to be a writer stuff, or what makes you famous, I am looking for normalcy. I like to find the ones that can make me laugh, I like to know what they were thinking as they plodded along, working on their book never imagining to be famous. Not in the hopes that I learn something or glean some insight but just to forget that I am trying to be a writer, that it is about them and not me. I stumbled across this trailer and I thought, oh I’d really like to see this movie. I think this documentary about a “bad writer” would be the best thing I could see right about now. A nice thing to get me out of my head.

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