Friday, May 25, 2012

After Fear and Anxiety, Desire

I've taken a break from publishing here. I was writing about fear and what holds me back, wondering if anyone else suffered from the self-doubt I subject myself to. Turns out that a bunch of you do, maybe everyone. While that's comforting, it did nothing to alleviate my fears and hesitation. So I took a break and assessed where things are going, where I want to go, and succumbed to fear and anxiety for a week or so.

Today, rather than writing about fear and anxiety, I've been pushing forward.

On my other blog I have been publishing some prose poetry. I love writing all sorts of things, but I adore the prose poem. I read a fair share of poetry and hunt for new prose poets (let me know if you have any recommendations). Crafting poetry without line breaks, using punctuation, sentence and fragment to pace the thing just lights me up.

There is only so wide a readership for my blog and it's not enough for me. I want to push myself. The solution isn't tough to figure out: I have to get my stuff out to publishers. But I haven't.

I keep finding excuses not to publish. I know now that my problem is fear, but the problem hasn't resolved itself just because I know its name. Bummer.

After consulting with my therapist (and she must be getting tired of repeating things to me), I bought a copy of the Poet's Market, printed copies of every prose poem I've written, and began the process of sending stuff out into the world.

Today, studying the Poet's Market, I am struck again by the fear and anxiety. The things they describe seem out of my wheelhouse. I'm imagining better poets, disappointed editors, a mountain of rejections, and a petition sasking me to please, please stop trying to write poetry.

This anxiety stuff, I'm good at it. I kick ass at being afraid.

I don't have to go see my therapist again. I know what she'll say. I don't need to run away. I have at least six poems good enough for anything. I have more poems in me and can create something better out of the 120 others I've drafted. I can do this.

I simply need to be a writer. I don't have to be the best. Lucky for me. I don't even have to be the best prose poet. Good thing since Strand and Shumate are out of my league. I only have to do my best work, push myself, and find joy.

Previously, just writing for myself was enough. Then it was alright sharing with a few people. A blog was enough fora time. Now I want more. I need to see what I can do on a larger stage.

There's a lot to fear in this, but there is also a lot to desire and that's where it's at. Desire pushes me to a higher level and is more than enough reason to write on.