A gift with words


I am a non-fiction writer as a profession, have been doing this full time for the past twelve years, and I still struggle with a discrepancy between what I think of my writing during the writing process (B-), and what I think of it when weeks/months/years have gone by (A+).

I live in this ever-sliding window of believing that what I wrote last month/year was really good, but what I’m writing right now falls short, that I’ve “lost it” and can’t quite recapture it. And what’s weird is that I know from experience that the very things I write under this impression that they’re barely adequate, are the ones I will, a month or a year from now, compare my new writing to unfavorably.

Part of my mindset is that I have confidence that I can deliver on a basic level with my writing: I sometimes have a bit of resistance but I am never “blocked” and I know I have access to words and phrases that will convey the meaning or message or facts I set out to convey.

But I aspire to more: I aspire to greatness and uniqueness, I want to write sentences that stop readers in their tracks, use images no one has ever used before, and be remembered for my writing.

This does not prevent me from writing (come to think of it, I aspire to write fiction as well, and do have huge resistance that I won’t be good enough) but it creates unnecessary misery for myself through the process.

I remember you suggested we skip the drama and go straight to “I am an amazing writer” but I feel I need bridge thoughts to sustain me through the writing process. I have integrated your B- approach in other areas of my work life, and I completely understand the approach when it’s about the message not the vessel, but when the ambition is to craft beautiful writing, I don’t think stopping at B- quite serves the purpose.

I will welcome your thoughts! Thank you.