Week 6 will go down in the history of this challenge as the week I wanted to quit but didn’t because my friends are awesome and Jack Daniels tastes amazing in sweet tea.
Both have helped me through this writing week, one more than the other.
I’m lucky to have great friends, the kind of friends that tell you hard truths in a way that’s so gentle you don’t even know you’ve been let down. The kind of friends who give compliments that are sincere and believable but only on occasion because they know how compliments make your skin crawl. When that little cluster of writer friends says anything, I tend to believe them.
I sent out furious emails early this week about a short story that was too long and too raw to publish. “It’s good.” I wrote, “Or at least it WILL be good.” I moaned about my problem and wondered aloud and through several emails if I should try something else, or post it anyway, or cry and eat chocolate and mourn the death of my challenge and career as a writer.
One good friend who takes my drama in stride said something calmly that had never dawned on me before,
“I think if you write a story that doesn’t measure up, you can state on your blog that you wrote, and it doesn’t measure up and why, and not post it… It’s still there, written. 52 stories. Not 52 stories shown to the world.”
I had to re-read what he wrote a few times. I felt like someone was telling me the world was really round when I’d thought it was flat.
Excuse me? I don’t have to post them all?
I breathed in and out, excited at the prospect of not having to show my ass to the world in the form of 52 first drafts. I tried to feel at peace about the fact that not everything I write will be good.
I’ll write it again.
Not everything I write will be good.
So I filed the story about Fae and two little blonde girls into the box of unsatisfying stories I now keep in my desk drawer, stories that aren’t ready to be born into the world or go beyond their first draft yet but stories that I believe have potential. I know I’ll place many others in that box before the year is out, some of them I’ll post here and some I won’t, and they’ll join week 6, who now lays alone “Stupid Story” typed across the top of the page just below my jumped cursive that reads, “There are no rules.”
Thanks to great whiskey and better friends I survived week 6 and moved on to 7 that is now half done and not half bad.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, y’all!