This will probably come as a (not) startling confession, but I am one of those writers. The one who has a million ideas that most likely have merit but is eternally frustrated by her inability to do those ideas justice. Ira Glass, you have offered me some true comfort. I’m glad to know that every writer is one of those writers. And I know that the solution to that problem is work, but I strongly feel that I have taken myself as far as I can go on my own, so what now?
I think in my more naive writing years I believed that editors would see my potential and guide me into that nebulous sweet spot of writerly Shangri-la. But the truth is editors don’t want to do that. Editors are busy people. They are strapped for time and money. Especially in the Mormon market where most of them work and publish not to make a profit (although, I’m sure they dream about it) but out of the goodness of their hearts and their commitment to our cultural heritage.
I think a lot of folks solve this problem with grad school. But since we are all MFAs (remember when Wm blogged about that? Man, that was a rocking discussion.), I wonder if grad school would actually fill that need or if an MFA program would just be more professors ardently trying to make me agree with, accept, and parrot back their worldviews. Because, well, professors are strapped for time and money too–publish or perish, natch.
Another option that occurs to me is a writer’s group, but, while the Boulder area has many writer’s groups fall into one of two categories:”audition only” groups or a bunch of retirees writing their memoirs for their future grandchildren. I’m not knocking either group–obviously they have found what works for them–but I don’t think I have the chops to make it in an audition group at this point (they come across as rather snarky on their website) and I’m not a retiree writing memoirs for grandchildren. For me the writer’s group has proved depressingly elusive.
I imagine that many of my co-bloggers (Wm, Patricia, Th. and Tyler especially), and many of the AMV readers!, are very tolerant of this phase in my writing. You all hold no illusions about my abilities–which I actually find quite freeing–and have been kind in helping me out in small ways. I’ve also had some great eye-opening experiences with editors at Irreantum, Segullah, and Dialogue. But, again, I know how busy you all are and I hate to impose. (And I hate to embarrass myself, but the relationship between fear and my writing process is really the subject for another post entirely! *cue self-loathing*)
So that leads me to what I want to know: How do you push through it? What do you draw on to increase your abilities and finesse your writing? How do you become the writer you dream of being?