I know not to compare my writing to anyone else’s writing. I have my voice. They have theirs, and when a writer finds her voice it’s all good. But when a writer is finding her voice or adding a new dimension to their craft, it’s hard not to make comparisons, and it’s even harder not to feel like you’re coming up short.
Trying to make the jump from blog posts to short fiction prompted me to go back to my library of short stories. I spent the summer reading old favorites and discovering new ones. Reading feeds my inspirations and aspirations. Some of my favorite writers started with short stories, and more than a few have defined their careers as short story artists.
Now, after a summer of reading and journaling and drafting and scrapping ideas, the aspiration to make a life writing a lot of short somethings is still strong. But there has also been a nagging knowledge that my short somethings will never be the same caliber as the ones that inspire me.
I know not to make comparisons, but I still do. Now, as the end of another year approaches, I am at a crossroads. There is the option to use my voice – even if it means singing off key. Or there is the option to let fear keep it silent another year and then another.
Six-year-old Thing2 will be seven this month. He’s at the age when the world begins imposing it’s hangups, and his fearless refusal to accept the imposition inspires in a different way. He found his voice the minute he first felt a drum beat move through his body, and he will not be silenced.
We’re having a haunted birthday party very soon, but I’ll be celebrating his life and his inspiration again at the end of the month. I’ve been working on a few stories for the last few months. I’ll be putting five of them into an ebook on my site by the end of the month. It more than a deadline. It’s a moratorium on fear.