“Good Enough”

You ever hike and get to the point on an uphill section where you are bent practically to your toes, using your arms to push your thighs, just so you can take one more step? You can’t even look up to find the next bend because if you do, you’ll fall over and never get up?

That’s where I am in my writing life at the moment. It’s dark and I’m sweaty and I can’t breathe. I used littleredtarot’s journal prompt this month to try and get a leg up.

The question was “What transition are you currently in?

I want to make this a label question, and that says a lot. I place value on titles and achievements that can be stored inside italic biographies at the end of stories. But, I have no label.

Last year, reaching a level of Querying My Novel felt like the code to get in the door of the Writers’ Club. I felt acceptance I hadn’t felt before.

Taking the large step of stopping my queries and reassessing my work was damn hard. I had to admit my skills were not where they needed to be. I am having to hear “you aren’t good enough…yet.”

This leaves me a choice, a transition, and a maybe a transformation.

I could keep trying to push my way into the agent-pro world with what I have. I could say at parties, “Nope, not yet. I’m still sending out queries.” while knowing in my heart it’ll never take and if it does take, I’ll be suspect of that agent’s motive and eye.

I could quit. This could look like full-on never writing again. Wrap up the blog and the Patreon and the pages and burn it all down. Or, I could quit in a passive-aggressive way by writing lukewarm pablum and never looking up at the stars anymore.

I could swallow this bitter horse-pill, and try to learn what I need to grow as a writer. To get better tools in my kit. To say to people I admire, “I’ve had to go back and learn things I thought I knew, but didn’t.” Say it without crying. Say it with pride in my eyes and an arrow in my heart that reads, “Persevere.”

I know the “right” choice. I feel it, but it’s heavy and hard. What if I crawl on my hands and knees to the next bend, and there’s still no success? It’s still all path and no reward?

That’s where I am. A transition. I want to be good enough. I’m afraid I’ll never be.

Thanks for listening.


4 thoughts on ““Good Enough”

  1. The block of marble has always encased the beautiful statue within.
    The blank page always waiting to accept and display the art.
    The former is about removal of the unnecessary, while the latter is about depositing the necessary.
    I don’t know which would be harder, but I know chiseling off too much means you better get a new block.
    Your page is more malleable and maybe that’s the problem. Infinite possibilities funneled into one message.
    One story.

    Maybe you need to find a shady spot, have a seat, and look down the path, marvelling at how far you have come. Catch your breath. Rub the knots out.

    Deciding to turn back and head down the mountain can take as much, if not more, out of you.

    If you do that, how will you share your account of the view? How will you continue to chart your path, if you can’t see the horizon?

    You are excellent at everything which you dedicated your efforts. But, I don’t think you were excellent right away. It was easier in hindsight than it now is in foresight.

    Enjoy where your efforts have already taken you. Catch your breath. Plot your course.

  2. Feeling “good enough” is something everyone struggles with at some point in their writing journey. I know I do. And I’ve dwelled on that topic a lot in my writing life and spent more time than I ought. The truth I had to realize is that I might not be “good enough” for some people. But I shouldn’t take it as gospel. Will the feelings still be there? Sure. We’re human. We’ll have those feelings of insecurity. But if we let those feelings direct our path, we WON’T be “good enough.” We have to believe that we are and that needs to drive us to move forward and learn from our mistakes. I may not be “good enough” to write a full-fledged book, but there are other ways I can get published. No matter what, I have to push through.

  3. I sincerely hope that you don’t quit. In everything I have read about authors who are successful describing what they went through to get there, I consistently see that they just kept writing. Kept pushing out new stuff. Eventually, something finally sticks.

    You have talent and you know what you’re doing. Something will eventually work out if you keep at it. That’s what I believe, in any case 🙂

    Also, hiking… the thing about hiking is that you have to go outside… I try to avoid that. The sun gets on you. And there’s bugs.


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