Balancing school and work and writing has been a big part of my life for nearly a year now. For the most part, I’m able to balance all three as separate aspects of my life, although I do admit to focusing a bit more on writing than on school. As much as I love getting my doctorate and the immense feeling of accomplishment knowing that I’m doing something no other member of my family has come close to, freeing the stories living in my head just feels so much more rewarding right now.
But for the past few weeks, I found myself pulling away from all writing. Not to say that I haven’t written anything, but I procrastinated on two papers for class, waiting until the day each were due. With The New Years Eve Murders, my current work in progress, I would write a little bit here or there, but nothing substantial.
However, as much as I love to be lazy, I didn’t procrastinate out of exhaustion or general malaise. There was a real reason why I’ve been pulling away from writing, one I had kept to myself until last night. It’s a hurdle that I need to move past, because at this point, there is nothing holding me back.
For pretty much my entire education, writing had been my thing. I joke that I have a B.A. in B.S., because I can write a mean research paper. I won an award for my journalism; I was named Outstanding English Graduate. During my master’s program, I was regularly praised for my papers. Even with my doctorate, I had gotten compliments.
And then I took my higher ed law class.
For the first time in my entire writing and education career, I came across that one teacher, who no matter what I did, just did not like my writing style. That was hard. Of course, while taking this class, I started querying, and while I haven’t sent many query letters out (right now I’m at a whopping four), I received two rejections. The rejections, themselves, didn’t hurt. But when paired with a teacher who I couldn’t connect with on any level, I started feeling like a failure.
Who am I kidding, I still feel like a failure.
I know I’m not a failure. I know I’m a good writer, but right now, my brain is trying awfully hard to feel sorry for itself. As a result, my imposter syndrome has been on overdrive.
This feeling won’t last, and honestly, I just keep quoting King Falls A.M. when I feel myself getting too down. As the awesome Ben Arnold sang in A King Falls Christmas, “Bad times are tough, but not tougher than me.”
I will get through this. I will believe in my writing again.