January 10, 2007

Who Says Being Neurotic Can't Lead To Self Knowledge?


Physical Evidence of my creative process in action

Just before Christmas I was asked to read a book on a subject I knew little about, and write a review of it for the purpose of publication. A little shocked, I said yes before I could come up with a good enough reason to say no.

I had a very short amount of time to get grounded in this particular subject, and that steep learning curve mocked me at every step. I took to carrying the book around along with a moleskine cahier for notes. I spent hours at the public library after work, looking up some of the books referenced. I did a lot of googling and fretting.

By the time I sat down to draft my review, I had gleaned a fair bit of knowledge, but I harboured some strong doubts about my ability to pull this off. My personal demons had been very, very busy. I swear they'd been stockpiling negativity for just such an occasion.

I wrote. I scratched things out. I sat in front of the computer and typed, then depyted. (For you knitters out there, depyted is to typed what tinking is to kniting.)

I returned to fretting, but quickly moved into denial - after all, I always fall back on the things I've practiced most. With half a dozen pages of scribbles and a rough draft I was unhappy with, I unwisely decided to ignore the whole thing and lost myself in the tail-end of another old movie - The Maltese Falcon, to be precise.

Eventually though, I had to get back to it, and face up to a difficult truth. I was afraid to fail. Or rather, I was afraid to have to accept the possibility that I was responsible for failing. As long as I didn't work on the project and put in maximum effort, I could say I failed because I hadn't tried. But if I did try and I failed anyway?

I might have to deal with a very different set of circumstances then, wouldn't I?

The good news is that with Lunchtruck's help, I didn't let the demons win. I ripped the original draft apart, and sent it on to my editor. She liked it. Will it get published? I hope so. But at this point, I already feel like I've won something major, so if it does get published, it'll be cake.

1 comment:

Pearl said...

Fabulous victory. Good for you to going all the way up the learning curve.