Riled and ranty.

Tonight someone made fun of me for enjoying young adult fiction, and that really gets my goat.

It’s not even the fact that he made fun of me (I can enjoy a good-natured jest, or I’d like to think I can). It’s the fact that when I tried to convince him that the young adult genre could have merit, should maybe deserve a little more respect than it does, he just laughed a small laugh and nodded his head at me like, “Are you joking? You have to be. That’s really funny.”

He’s a lit major, like I was, and I know his type, because they were threaded throughout the English department of my school.  They were big and loud with their opinions and their disdain, and were good at making ideas they disagreed with seem small and embarrassing to believe in.

They made me angry then, and he made me angry tonight.

Yes, there is a lot of bad young adult fiction out there, but there’s a lot of bad adult fiction out there, too. Don’t throw Twilight in my face and pat me on the head like I’m a simpleton when I say YA has some merit. When you belittle me like that, you make yourself smaller in my eyes.

Adult fiction is not just one genre, and as YA is becoming bigger, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it shouldn’t be lumped together as such, either. There is ‘popular’ adult fiction and ‘literary’ adult fiction – and I believe the same could be argued for YA, too.

YA is becoming a more widely recognized genre that is being read by adults and youth alike, and there are a lot of opinions out there right now about what that means. People are talking about it. Slowly but surely, YA is nudging its way into view alongside ‘mainstream’ fiction.

So don’t laugh it off so easily, Mr. Pretentious Guy I Ran Into At A Party.

Pretentiousness in general makes me angry, because I think it’s an easy way to silence people who might have something valuable to share. And maybe it’s also a sensitive spot for me because I’m often afraid of what I might be unknowingly pretentious about. I know I used to be pretentious about a lot of things and didn’t even realize it. When I met my husband, that’s when I began to become aware of the fact that I scoffed and belittled a lot of things in the world I didn’t even understand. So seeing that pretentiousness in others – well, I recognize what I’m capable of myself in that behavior. And it frightens and upsets me.

I used to laugh at YA too, and then I learned to love it again. It can be a powerful, moving genre that does so much for youth and adults alike. I’m not saying we all have to be on the same page, here – but his laugh and quick dismissal tonight just made me want to kick over a bowl of guacamole, stomp over to Barnes & Nobles to buy a stack of ‘literary’ YA, and leave it on his doorstep.

Don’t shred it til you’ve read it, man. And after you’re done reading, maybe you could actually give me a real response rather than a throaty scoff.

Another day, same disappointments.

I’m embarrassed to post here because I haven’t accomplished anything in the past few days. But that’s what this blog is for – to keep me on track, and to lay out in bare and blunt words what I have and haven’t accomplished, day by day.

I avoided checking in here the past couple days exactly because I didn’t want to see the zero written down, hard and hollow. It’s embarrassing how little I have accomplished, and it’s embarrassing to keep saying that over and over, and see little change.

Oh well. I have a few hours write now to sit down and try to be productive. It’s been a difficult battle with myself, fighting the laziness, the slothfulness, the anxiety, the excuses. It’s like there’s two warring factions in me, and the negative side feels vastly more experienced, skilled and loud. But I have to keep trying to overpower it.

Write even when…

Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement.

– Cory Doctorow

 It’s a good reminder. Just sit down and write.

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m trying to fail.

I mean, honestly.

Daily word count for the day: 165.

Yeah, one hundred and sixty five.

Jesus.

Oh, word count for the weekend? You want to know how much I wrote this weekend? An enormous amount of zero.

So I’m beginning to wonder what the hell is wrong with me. I want this, right? I quit my job for this. I’m putting my mental health and even my relationships on the line for this. So what do I do? I hardly write anything, all day?

I hate myself so much right now it is actually making my stomach hurt, thinking about how little I’ve achieved. Why am I acting like this? Is there something wrong with me? There has to be, right?

Because I mean, last night before I went to bed I told myself, “It’s okay, you can write all day tomorrow, and then you’ll feel better.” And I got up at 9:30 am and said, “I’m going to write today,” and then it was 5:00 pm and I hadn’t written anything, and then it was 6:00 pm and I finally sat down and wrote 165 words.

So honestly, what is that? I just want to know why I’m doing this to myself, because there’s nothing else holding me back, it’s just me, and I don’t know why I’m doing it.

It was a stupid idea, quitting my job. Maybe I wasn’t ready for this. I mean, clearly I wasn’t – look at the output I’ve been producing. I’m so disappointed, so upset with myself. And I don’t even understand why I’m acting this way. I have no good excuse.

All I can do is try harder tomorrow, but I’ve said that a million times. I think it’s time to start applying for jobs again.

Or am I just afraid of failing? Am I somehow allowing myself to fail so I don’t have to be afraid of failing? Like – if I do this to myself, I can’t say it was my writing, I can’t say it was what I produced that was awful. It was just because I couldn’t focus. Because then I failed because I couldn’t buckle down – not because I tried my hardest, and it was bad.

Well, that’s bullshit. If that’s what I’m doing, if it’s subconscious or whatever – that’s BS.

I’m so sick of being afraid of what I’ve longed to do forever.

I have an opportunity right now. Do I even know how lucky I am to have this? I need to take it, choke it, make it my own, whatever – just as long as I try. I’m sick of not trying and wondering and thinking about how it might be someday.

This whole post is trite. It doesn’t matter. I have tomorrow, I have tonight. I don’t know why I keep allowing myself to fail, day after day, but I don’t need to understand why it’s been happening to change it.

Listen up, me: I don’t know if you have battling factions going on in your head right now, if your subconscious is whispering things to your conscious, if your brain is allowing your head to get distracted…look, I don’t care what’s going on in there. But I’m telling you as the conscious part of me that it’s killing me to see me failing like this. So can you please work with me here? Can you please help me achieve this? Because it’s been years of me dreaming about it, feeling like it was what I was supposed to do, and maybe you think you’re protecting me or something, I don’t know. But I need your help if I’m going to do this, and I have to try. I have to. If I don’t…I can already feel it like a black tangled knot in the center of me. If I can’t try to achieve this, it will just get bigger. So please help me sit down and write.

Please.

In which I am reminded that I’m not very great at this. Yet.

Word count for the day: 551

I have to be honest: that was all typed in the past hour (okay, hour and a half…I’m a slow writer, and I get distracted easily), because I didn’t want to go to bed feeling like a total failure.

Better than nothing, right?

Also, can I just take a moment here to explore the concept of comparing myself to other writers/bloggers and maybe stating that it’s probably not a great idea? I got into such a funk tonight. I was reading through another blogger’s blog, and the writing was just amazing. And she had so many followers. And she hasn’t even had the blog for a year.

Okay, so I didn’t create this blog for followers, and I don’t expect to ever get that many (pretty sure ‘daily word counts’ aren’t a hot ticket item), and don’t even know how I would feel if I did. But the writing thing?

Well.

Diving into this like I have, especially after so many years of not really writing anything…well, it’s been hard. And it’s been humbling. And I’m starting to realize I may not be a very good writer. I know that sounds egotistical, and it probably is. But since I was a kid I was praised for my writing, all up until I graduated from college. It was the one thing in my life I kind of felt good about for a long while.

It’s okay that I’m not a great writer, that’s all right. But it’s hard when I read someone else’s writing and I really feel it, you know? Like, holy cow. Just, really beautifully written stuff. And then I look at my stuff, all clunky and one dimensional and sad.

But I know I shouldn’t dwell on that. And it takes practice and hard work to get better. I just need to keep trying and I know I can improve. So I’m trying not to dwell on it, because if I do it may stop me from progressing. All I can do is keep trying at this point.