My career as a writer is just beginning. It’s going well, so far. One novel published and another on the way. But I’m here to confess my biggest fear: that I’m already washed-up and a has-been.
The reason is this: everything I’ve been working on is old. Years old. I have a backlog of writing back from my younger and more vulnerable years: four novels that have required much editing but are good enough to be worth the work.
Now I’m the first to say that editing is part of writing. An essential part, no less, and what I’m doing is as valid as every first draft that proudly gets ‘The End’ inscribed at its end.
But I haven’t written anything new for about three years now. And, for a writer, that feels like a lifetime.
My greatest fear is that I have nothing left to say; that I’ve lost the discipline and the drive that makes a writer sit in front of a blank page and simply create. Sure, I have ideas – but nothing ready. I’ve been spending so much time buried in old words that I don’t know how to get down the new.
This isn’t imposter syndrome, and it’s my hope that, once I find my way nearer to the end of my back catalogue, that I’ll be able to see a future once again. But right now I feel like I’m already nearing the end.
It doesn’t help that I’m building a career as a freelance editor, so my time is split between editing and editing. Plus I owe friends my opinions (for what it’s worth) on their novels; I can easily see myself working through this block of already-written novels and then settling for a career as an editor.
I don’t want this. I want to be a writer.
I go online and see author after author telling us of their accomplishments; of their new works of wonder and delight, and I have nothing.
I am not a real writer. I’m someone who can edit works until they look like a competent author produced them, but I still need the source material and that I’m fast running out of.
This, at least, is my fear. Whether it turns out to be true or not is yet to be seen.