The more I write—and, more importantly, the more I don't write—the more I realize that for me the best and worst thing, the hardest and easiest thing, about writing, for me, is the realization that nobody else will write exactly the same thing I will (or would), and vice versa. Ideally, this should be liberating; my voice is unique and special and what I have to say is something only I can do.
The converse, though, is what almost always keeps me from writing. I think: someone else would write it differently, which therefore means someone else would write it better. And then I stop. Or I "research," which is really just another way of saying "procrastinate." Or I wait so long that the idea is no longer timely. Or I purchase a research study with the hope that by investing in my writing, I will therefore push myself to actually write, and then let it expire. I don't trust in that uniqueness, that vision, those glimmers of ideas. I don't trust them because I don't trust myself. I imagine how easy it would be if I were any of those other writers, any of those other people. If I were anyone else.
I am combing through all my belongings as I prepare to move in 31 days, and I see so many examples of dreams I never imagined being fulfilled that have now come true. I used to subscribe to Penthouse, and then I got a job and kept it for seven years at Penthouse Variations. Yes, I still have those magazines from 2000 and 2001. I used to want to see my books on shelves, and now, while I haven't written them, my name is on the spine and cover; my choices make up the contents, and while they may not be that easy to find at Barnes & Noble, they are there. In high school, back when The Village Voice was free, my friend A. used to bring it back to Teaneck when she went into Manhattan for music school, and we'd look at the ads on the back page. Never ever back in high school did I think I'd write for that paper, or that if I did, it would be read by international audiences, or that many years later when that seems almost like a dream, people I greatly admire would know who I am because of it.
I meet so many people with brilliant ideas, read writers whose work I want to devour. In that same ideal world, their words should inspire me to create some of my own. Instead, I keep going back to that scared place where I'm so afraid of rejection that I only let myself write those words in the wee hours or frantically type notes into my phone or scrawl them on random pieces of paper I will lose. Part of why I'm moving is the hope that I will banish some of those fears, that with someone else relying on me I will be forced to step up, if only to not let my partner down by not being able to make rent. More so, I want to feel like I did everything I could, that I pushed myself, that I saw the ideas that come to me fairly frequently through to fruition. This unexpected weekend at home, which I chose rather than going away somewhere much sunnier and more fun, is my chance to start over. Not in 31 days. Now. Hardness and all.