I want to share my writing with Bubba. And what I want from him is supportive enthusiasm that I’m writing. I don’t want suggestions for how I might write something different or better.
It’s not because I think my work is brilliant and doesn’t need editing.
It’s because writing and sharing my work scares the living daylights out of me.
And in that place of fear, anything that discourages me feeds the fear. And stops the writing.
Which is why I’m looking for swords of light that encourage the what of what I’m doing–writing–rather than the skill with which I do it.
The thing is, when I share my writing with Bubba, I’m also sharing it with his mother, Jan.
Not directly, as she passed away years ago, but indirectly. Because Jan’s style informs Bubba’s style.
From what Bubba has told me, Jan’s style was not so much to praise her children for what they accomplished, as to focus on how they could do better next time.
“An A? Well that’s good, Bubba. But let’s talk about what you need to do to get an A+ next time!”
When I read a couple of pieces to Bubba this morning, I told him all I wanted was encouragement for the doing.
He nodded. He listened. At the end of the first piece he was silent. Then politely thanked me for sharing.
After listening to the second piece, he said he liked the style.
He was kind; he didn’t try to tell me how to write differently. He gave me some encouragement about one thing he liked.
And…I felt as if I was sitting with Jan, a guest in her home. Jan was being polite and listening. She knew that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you don’t say anything at all. She listened to the first piece, and kept her mouth shut when it was done. She sat through the next one, trying to find something she could say she liked. She offered it; politely.
My reaction to Jan’s style is informed by my relationship with my mother. I want my mother’s approval. I want her to be proud of me. At this moment, I simply wanted her to be proud of, and enthusiastic about, the fact that I had written down thoughts and shared them. She didn’t even have to like what I wrote. She just needed to revel in the fact that I had written them. To exude delight and pride.
That isn’t my mother’s style. Nor is it Jan’s. Nor, I suspect, is it mine.
And yet, I yearn for that unconditional, loving encouragement.
At this stage of my writing, the very act of doing it is like witnessing the young, green sprouts of a new plant emerge: it’s glorious to see and…incredibly vulnerable. You wonder what it’s going to look like when it’s fully grown, but it has a lot of stages to go through. And at this stage, tenderness and protection are key. Doing no harm is good. Delivering nurturing sun and nutrients is better; the plant turns toward that and thrives.
Jan did a lovely job of remaining polite; of doing no harm. But perhaps she isn’t the best person from whom to seek unrestrained enthusiasm. Her inclination is to help me achieve an A+ rather than celebrate the effort it took to get the A.
Daily Post-Inspired: Wonder
7 thoughts on ““Scared to Write” Character”
I’ll celebrate the writing with you because I’m feeling the same about my own. I think it’s amazing that you’re here and doing what you’ve longed to do. Keep going
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Thanks for stopping by and reading along. It is a curious journey this blogging-land, isn’t it? Interesting to imagine what the path will look like when looking back on it a year from now. All of these posts will provide wonderful trail markers of movement!
I applaud your courage and your skill as a writer (you’re very good!), and I’m enjoying the topics you choose. With regard to the quality of your writing, (1) there is a lovely cadence to your work that makes it a Joy to read. I feel as though you are sitting right here, talking to me. (2) your character development is tremendous, particularly since this is such a short piece. (3) I love, love, love your varied sentence structure. When you use repetitive structure (“I want my mother ‘s approval. I want her to be proud of me.”) it is so exquisitely effective. You strike a chord common in the human experience. (4) your word choices are wonderful.
I would be hard pressed to find a suggestion for improvement, and I’m glad you didn’t ask for that. This is so authentically you. It’s wonderful.
Keep writing- please keep writing.
And say hi to Bubba.
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What an incredibly wonderful post, Debbie. I appreciate reading it; your writing speaks volumes and fills me with encouragement. It was nice of you to note things that particularly resonated for you. Thank you thank you thank you. And, yes, I’ll tell Bubba hi :-).
Debbie expressed my thoughts so eloquently! Yes, dear Cindy, you have a gift; thank you for sharing it with the world! As an “always have tried not to rock the boat,” but late-60-year-old “know it’s time to be genuine and not concerned about what others think,” you inspire and you nudge me. I too am scared to risk losing friends or hurting anyone. But, then, I read once that if you BE YOURSELF, the friends you’re supposed to have will gravitate to you and those who weren’t meant to be will drift away. Tough.
Love, love, love your style, voice, and subjects. You make me think. You make me grow. Thank you.
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How nice to get your note, Bobbi, and to have you let me know that my words resonate. It’s an interesting process doing this. Mostly it feels as if I’m writing into a void. At times, that makes it LESS scary (“hey no one is reading this anyway so go for it!”). And, the void can discourage, so getting your note helps with motivation. Thank you and hope your travels are going well. xx
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