So, the other day I thought I was doing a brave thing by referring to myself as a good writer. Ever since I've been troubled by regret and self-doubt.
I wanted to claim that for myself because, among other things, if I can cultivate a decent level of self-confidence as a writer, I won't need as much external affirmation. The same goes for a decent level of self-confidence in general; it's when we're plagued by insecurity that we get needy.
Part of what I was trying to say is that I haven't yet written my best work. And that's a good thing, but it's also an incredibly daunting thing, especially for a writer who has a tendency to believe that whatever it is I'm working on cannot, in fact, be done. That the work is too much for me, that I will start a sentence that I'm not wise or talented enough to finish, and that will be it.
I thought that I could avoid that dreadful feeling with a thimbleful of swagger by claiming, at the beginning of a week of writing, that I'm a good writer. I couldn't.
I didn't do what I came to do this week. I can't pretend otherwise. I wrote a ton. I wrote pieces that were under deadline. But I barely touched my book project, which is not under contract and therefore does not (yet?) have a deadline. I don't regret the work I did, but I do regret the work I didn't do. In part because now it's all ahead of me, thousands of words that I haven't yet strung together. And I might not be writer enough to write them.