I've had many other difficult years. Ones with more personal pain and loss and panic. Years that felt like my own world was ending. But there was a key difference in 2017. My writing used to be a safe place I could escape to. This year, I've struggled with writing self-doubt. And I have mentioned this time and again, so I'll try not to linger. But I've wanted to save the world so much. Writing felt like my only way. I'd often hoped that my writing could be some comfort to people who felt "different" or rejected by the world. But I started to worry with every word I wrote that I might slip up. I might not be perfect. I might make mistakes. And then, what use would my writing be to anyone?
So, I would hold back. I would hold it in, fearing that any tiny wrong move would ruin everything. I wanted to save the world. And I knew that I couldn't. And in the process, I've forgotten to save myself. I've drifted back into despair. I've gone back to hating myself for all that I could never be or do. And for who I am. Because who I am isn't perfect. I have flaws. And my work is also flawed. And that made me want to give up. In some ways, I'd convinced myself that I had failed before I'd even finished.
This fear of imperfection has lead to me repressing my true feelings. Repressing my true self. Because I feared being rejected for being flawed. But I cannot do this anymore. My well-being is not more important than the world's. But I cannot help the world, or anyone, if I do not take care of myself. And part of that is writing what I love simply because I love it. Because it saves me. Not because it has some greater purpose to the world. Maybe it will. But if doesn't... that doesn't change the fact that I need it.
"I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me." - Joanne Rowling
And so, 2018 will be the year I finish Book Two. Or maybe not. Who really knows? But I will write what I need when I need to. I will find a way to realign with my inspiration. I will find a way to reconnect with myself, even if that means closing out the world for a little while. Maybe that really does mean that I've failed for now. But I hope to come out of this a success on my own terms. I will write the book(s) I was meant to write. And I will hope that it is, somehow, a book the world needs, too. Or maybe, just one other person. Because I am no writing superhero. And I will not pretend to be. I will not pretend to be anything I'm not.
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default." - Joanne Rowling
I will just be who I am. As a writer and a human. And someday, that will be enough.