Hey!! What's the story?

Have you ever started writing a story and then made the mistake of reading something absolutely brilliant? This recently happened to me.

I more or less finished an outline of a shortish story which I was pretty happy with - even excited about, which is rare for me. There are lots of weird characters and crazy scenes, a good plot twist and an ending which should be quite satisfying. Once I started sketching things out, more and more characters and ideas popped into my head and sometimes I'd wake up with a jolt in the middle of the night and write on a scratch-pad on my night table; I tend to dream about things that relate to the story currently in my head and it's fun to insert them somewhere if a suitable spot is found.

With the outline more or less complete, I thought I'd let things simmer for a bit before tackling the actual writing (well, okay, to be honest I got a bit lazy and wanted to take a break). Then I read that Donna Tarrt, one of my favorite authors, recently won the Pulitzer for her latest novel - The Goldfinch. I immediately downloaded it onto our Kobo eReader and settled in.

Some have criticized The Goldfinch for being overly long (amongst other objections) but to me it was a masterpiece. I devoured it in about a week which leads to the whole point of this rant - my current problem. Every time I open up my story outline and start to write I feel so completely inadequate that I can't seem to get going. It's like signing up for a 5K fun run and then realizing at the start line that everyone else in the race is an Olympic athlete. Do I really want to humiliate myself in public (again)?

Yes, I realize it's all in my head, I'm an idiot, unrealistic expectations, repeat the daily affirmations, etc. etc. But that little nagging voice in the background is still there. I also know part of me is a needy, approval-seeking, self-condemning "child" who needs to be reassured that he's really quite clever (and that family members aren't the only ones who believe this).

But there it is. And having written this, I'm starting to feel a bit better. There's nothing like a good honest confession to free up the mind. Thanks for listening. I'm going to try again now (well, maybe tomorrow, I'm a bit tired from all this self-examination).

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