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Racing Thoughts Of A Bipolar Writer No. 2: Honestly, It All Just Boils Down To Insecurity

Is it just me or do you feel, too?

Is it just me or do you feel, too?

I feel an alternating tinge of admiration, respect, insecurity, and envy whenever I read something beautifully written. It elicits all these positive and negative emotions within me. How could something so simple a thought be so complex in form and substance, yet so profound and succinct? There are all these ideas and brain blurbs inside my head that I wish to say with the eloquence of T.S. Elliot or Ernest Hemingway, but get stymied by my inability to do so. But then again, as I have said before in this blog, one mustn’t compare one’s writing to that of others because it will only lead to despair. I am such a man of walking contradictions. Would it behoove one to search exasperatedly for inspiration through other people’s writings, or would it just cause one to be unnecessarily competitive and insecure–to feel mediocre and inadequate? Sometimes I really wonder: Did the greatest writers of our time ever feel this way before, or did they ever have time to entertain such thoughts?

Essentially, what exactly makes a writer good or bad? What makes a writer great? Is everything just subjective? There are countless literary critics out there, but what kind of literary criticism are the most objective ones? Moreover, is literary criticism truly objective or is it just subject to and the product of the personal views, prejudices, and partiality of just another human being? Who has the right to say when writing is good or bad? Even the great F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has received the worst reviews by real readers of the classics, even from other professional literary critics.

What, then, makes another writer truly better than the other? Is it the punctiliousness to everything–commas, periods, spelling, grammar, diction? A fanatical attention to detail? Is it the way one phrases one’s words and sentences, or is there really an inherent divine, genetic right to being a genius-artiste writer? Can mediocrity ever become mastery? And if so, where is one, as a writer, in the grand scale of the writing grade system? Can one really be ever objective with one’s own work? And more importantly, will others be truly objective when it comes to yours?

Erich-Fromm-quote-about-insecurity-unknownmami

Am I the only one in this world who has these thoughts and questions? Do these questions make me look foolish, ignorant, and stupid? Or am I right when I say I might just as well be voicing out the collective feelings of all the writers out there who are afraid to think out loud, to acknowledge their weaknesses, and to resolve their issues publicly? After all, isn’t being a writer all about the courage to speak one’s mind, and on even more honest level, one’s feelings–on a global and social media savvy platform–like a blog?

But then again, I think when all is said and done, all these thoughts and questions I have can just be boiled down to [my] nagging feelings of inadequacy, mediocrity, and insecurity. Or maybe, just maybe, this is the bipolar twin writer talking–the overcritical, hard-on-himself son of a gun who can’t stop thinking, obsessing, and shutting his mouth and keeping his hands inside his straitjacket. Well, It isn’t called racing thoughts for nothing, anyway. Ultimately, these are just the musings of a guy who is still unsure of himself–a guy who is still finding his voice in the world–a guy whose interior world is filled with voices of blurred reason, fantasy, chaos, and uncertainty. Yes, living in one’s head can be a drag sometimes. But hey, don’t get me wrong. It really is still fun to be me.

Oh, well. C’est la vie.

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13 Comments

  1. Sandy Sue says:

    I think you’re circling closer to the truth in the final paragraph. In the end, all that matters is that you write and keep writing.

  2. lpaigewrites says:

    I think your thoughts are already much more eloquently phrased than my own, because this post reminds me so much of one I recently wrote in which I was having some doubts and confusion about writing and wanting to become an author ( https://lifeaccordinglee.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/the-mind-of-an-apprehensive-future-author/ ). But this also might come from your experience in writing, your age, the way you speak. I’m sure Ernest Hemingway didn’t start out as a genius, but he kept going, kept writing, and eventually found exactly the right way to express himself (though I’m sure even he had some doubts about himself at times too). Keep up the great work. 🙂

    • Thank you, Lee. I read your post, and I must say, you asked all the right questions there. And yes, I agree. I’m certain that Hemingway had doubts about himself, too, as did the others before him and his contemporaries. But with time and practice, one can only get better, I suppose. Well, we writers must stick together. No other group of artists understand each other better than us writers, and quite possibly, psychiatrists and psychologists (no surprise there). Of course, all the questions I posed here were just rhetorical. Again, thanks for leaving a comment and for following back. Cheers! =)

  3. jakiedwards says:

    Does grammar make a great writer? No, it makes a great editor. Does being able to write like Hemmingway or Shakespeare make you a great writer? No, it probably makes you a great impressionist.
    One thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that Shakespeare and Dickens were never the idols that we have made them into. They were populists. They were the prolific crowd pleasers/beach reads of their time. they were the James Pattersons, the J.K Rowlings of the day.
    If you want people to find what you write profound then you should really go do something else. Become a director of Art Films maybe.
    Writing is an end to itself. Being published is a whole different story. I mean BEING published not just formatting your words and making your own e-book.
    It’s good to question. Just so long as it doesn’t interfere with the process of getting words onto a page and completing your work.

    • Thanks for that great insight, Jaki. And yes, I totally agree with everything that you said save for the one where you said Shakespeare and Hemingway were populists and beach reads of their time. Surely, there must be something rather profound in Shakespeare’s writing that resonates with everybody to this day, don’t you think? Of course, the questions I posed in this post were mostly rhetorical. I just had to write down the questions to see if somebody would come u with answer that I think would come close to my opinion of what a writer and the art of writing truly is. Still, who is to say what is good literature or not. As long as a reader can connect with the characters and with the author on some emotional and intellectual level, I guess that’s good enough. And about being published, you are ABSOLUTELY right. I’m glad there are so much sensible people out there like you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Cheers! =)

      • jakiedwards says:

        I disagree with your view point on Shakespeare. I think he represents popular thinking and fashions of his time but is totally irrelevent today. It’s not a popular opinion, I know, but I think it’s only the arcane speech of his plays that elevates him as writer. We can’t easily access the ‘thees and thous’ the painfully twisted manners and mannerisms so we elevate it. It must be good because I’m not I understand it fully. The poetry is more to do with archaic phraseology than the encapsulation of an idea.
        I don’t find that profound.
        However, this is a fabulous forum for such debate and thoroughly enjoy your personal rhetoric.

  4. Jaki, I think you just fully convinced one that Shakespeare’s elevation as a writer has more to do with his “archaic phraseology and “arcane speech of his plays.” You’re right, it isn’t as profound as I thought it was, now that I really think about it. I mean, I have always been unsure as to whether Shakespeare’s works were really that profound, or whether they were just profound because so many literary critics say it is, and because scholars and universities include his works as reading materials or as part of the school curriculum. But yes, now that you mentioned it, and having read it here out loud, I really do think now that Shakespeare is really irrelevant today. I get lost in translation in all those “thee’s and thou’s” and all that archaism. The question then is: what to you is profound? What do you think is good writing? Wait. Don’t answer those questions. I’d like you to answer those questions on an interview. I’d like you to be one of my first author-writer interviewees. That is, if you’ll grant me one. I can email you the interview questions if that’s okay with you. =)

  5. Lila says:

    I think every decent writer is bipolar in someway–I mean–to be able to write out honest characters, the person has to be able to split his mind at least in two.

  6. Rick johnson says:

    The last time i was having a jar with Will , he said he was a profound populist .(verily) Which i thought was a pretty profound thing to say.

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