I have been thinking about writing in a way, sort of relating it to running. Because see, I've been running, and getting better at it, and being consistent, and improving - much as I had been with my writing. In the fall, I ran a 5K, and came in 2nd in my age group, which was a great feeling. And really, just having entered a 5K seems to have cemented the fact that I am a runner. It's now official. I am allowed to call myself a runner. The world approves of that label.
But with writing? There are no milestones that you can pass that sort of proclaim you've arrived, and that now you're a writer. The only socially acceptable proof of your writerdom is publication. And when you write novels, exclusively...well gawd, you all know. You might never get there. I made the mistake of telling people that I'm a writer, and that I'm working on a novel. Now all I get are questions: "How's the novel coming along? Why aren't you writing now? When will it be published?" Non-writers don't understand the whole process, the tremendous lengths of time involved before something's even ready to be sent out, the bogs and mires and land mines our own brains set that sidetrack and waylay us on the arduous journey. I feel like a failure for coming up empty again and again.
I just want a shiny friggin medal that says "writer." I want a writing 5K that I can say "LOOK! I entered this. See? Here's my number; proof that I am, actually, a writer."
And I know I shouldn't need outside validation, but there it is, one of my glaring personal faults: NEEDS VALIDATION.
I don't necessarily think that this issue is the cause of my current stasis, but that rather the stasis has given me time to consider it.
Or then again, maybe it is. But I can't tell you how I regret that admission to non-writers; folks who don't understand that finishing a first draft is just the first step in a long journey; who look at you blankly when you say you're working on revisions.
I thought telling people would help me keep my nose to the grindstone. Instead, I seem to have put a lodestone around my neck, and it's dragging me under.