Do My Stories Actually Mean Anything? // An Existential Crisis

7:00 AM


Three things.

1. Yes, I changed my header and some other design stuff. Do you like it? I like it, so it doesn't really matter.
2. Yes, I know, I haven't posted like I promised. And I didn't post last week. But I have a legit reason and that legit reason was a kidney stone that caused me unspeakable pain for most of the week so I kinda feel like I have an excuse.
3. Actual posts about the actual writing conference are coming, I promise. They've just been delayed a teensy bit.

Now to the actual post.


I have a lot of really insecure moments. 

This is not a surprise. I'm a writer. We're made out of sugar/caffeine and insecure moments. Carpal tunnel, too, if you're lucky. So I shouldn't be surprised that I'm insecure, but here I am again, worrying about things, not sure what I'm going to do, not sure where I'm going to turn. 
no joke, man.
Lately I'm worrying about standing out. About having an impact

You see, I've read a lot of books. And a lot of those lots of books have been good, solid stories. The plot goes along okay. The characters are good. It's fun to read. The writing is, technically, sound and correct. But I don't leave the book with a sense of wonder, of reading something new, of thinking. Most books aren't Red Rising or Unwind or Illuminae or Hunger Games for me. And that's okay, because not every book I read can be the freshest most deep original thing in the history of all books, but...as a writer, it leaves me terrified of not standing out.

Maybe it's just me. But I don't write poetically by any means. I'm not particularly special. I'm no Maggie Stiefvater when it comes to prose. My sci-fi worldbuilding doesn't boggle the mind and open up a whole new universe the way Pierce Brown's does. I don't bend genres and make the grotesque into something fascinatingly beautiful in the same way as Jay Kristoff. My themes aren't Neal-Shusterman-level delicate and deep and heart-wrenching and human. 

I look at books like that and I want to curl up in a little ball on my bed because what's the point of writing my little stories if they don't add something new to the conversation? If they're not awesome
it kinda feels exactly like this
So I've been thinking a lot about this and I don't know the answer. Not at all. I don't have some mind-blowing teary revelation for you, honestly. I'm still insecure about it and I still hate it and I still don't know if it's even worth worrying about or not. So don't come to me for answers because we've already established that I don't know how to do that nonsense.

When I went to the writing conference two weeks ago (wow, it already feels like it's been years), they talked a lot about the power of words. Specially, about how "your words have power". Over and over again. 

"Your story matters." 

"Your words have power." 

"Only you can tell your story the way it needs to be told."

That's great. That's important. It's 100% true and we need to hear it. I needed to hear it. I believe it. But inevitably, I come away from stuff like that and in the darker moments I think "yeah, but even if I'm the only one who can tell my specific story, is it good enough? Is it even something that needs to be said/read about anymore? Is it even good? Does it stand out enough to matter and add something new to the world of books?"

I don't know. Are my stories any less valuable because I didn't have some intriguing, deep, special childhood to draw inspiration from? Am I creating new things? Am I writing good stuff or average everyday stuff that we're already drowning in? I don't know how to tell. 
i use this gif too often but it tells the truth.
I told you I wasn't going to say anything helpful.

Basically I'm writing this post at midnight the day before it's supposed to be posted and it's on a whim so I don't know what I'm writing anymore, but I feel like I needed to get it out, because it's a real thing and let's just agree to talk about real things more often, okay? Writers are insecure people. Sometimes we've gotta whine about it. 

I do know, even when I have moments like this, that I need to keep writing. 

So I guess right now it doesn't matter if I'm going to write the next revolutionary thing that really stands out from the crowd or flies off the shelf or whatever you want to say about it. I guess I just need to keep putting words on paper, and noticing things, and brainstorming, and Pinterest-ing, and cultivating plot bunnies, and all that good stuff. I have to keep putting. those. words. on. the. page. Because if I stop now I won't know either way, and I won't get anywhere good by being crippled by my insecurities. 

I just have to keep writing. 

Do you have writer insecurities like this? Let's whine about it together.

28 comments

  1. This post hit home with me, because it's nailed a lot of my past and current writing fears. Whenever I see a book with a blurb that sounds even vaguely similar to my WIP the questions come pouring in: "Why bother continuing writing this story if someone else has covered this concept? Should I even be writing? What if no one cares about my story?"
    Honestly, art is as draining as it is fulfilling. It's probably impossible to answer the questions self-doubt throws our way. We just have to keep pushing through, keep writing, like you said.
    Just know you're not alone in these thoughts. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's always important to know that you're not alone in a writing insecurity. And I guess that's why I wrote this? If somebody else feels this way someone's gotta acknowledge it first and there's comfort in struggling together. *shrugs*

      Delete
  2. Ah yes you just put it all to words thank you fren. This is basically when insecurity/anxiety/writing all decide to meet up and it's the worst. My books don't have any impact - I try, but I can never get them there, I can never get them to have the same impact on other people that they do on me, sometimes. And, yeah, as a writer I want to stand out and I want my novels to do that and it's this constant cycle of insecurity/fear about it and "what's the point" that never seems to want to stop. Sigh. Being a writer is fun .-.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *hugssssss* The most fun, really, in the most sarcastic way possible. xD But I guess we'll get there one day.

      Delete
  3. 1. I love your new header. It's super awesome.
    2. YIKES that sounds like the worst! Kidney stones are awful. I hope you're feeling better.
    3. For what it's worth, the little I have read of your writing has been amazing and, to me, unforgettable. I mean, I've only read little bits here and there that you've posted here or on Wattpad, but your prose is very unique and beautiful. You also write emotions in a strikingly vivid way. The concepts for your stories are extremely original and interesting. I think you can most definitely impact a lot of people with your writing, much as you may feel otherwise.
    But yeah, I feel the same way sometimes. I guess that's the case with most forms of art. You just have to keep going.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh goodness, thank you so much! Your words are so kind and encouraging and I really needed them.

      Delete
  4. First of all, you sound like you need hugs, and I'm sorry to hear about that kidney stone. I hope you're feeling better now. *hugs*
    Second of all, I think that some of the most profound things I've learned from books have come from the most boring and mundane things I've read, and it's not on us to stand alone anyway. It's my belief that as writers, we don't actually own any of our ideas, stories, or works. They belong to God.
    It's not our decision whether we get to be profound or beautiful or even write well. After all that we can do, that's God's decision. He is the source of all stories and inspiration, of light and truth and knowledge.
    Write to please God, because ultimately nothing else matters.
    ...I hope that helps somewhat. Honestly, I'be been thinking a lot about this too, and I still don't really know any of the answers except that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is very true! I've been trying to focus on writing to glorify God first and worry less about people, but that's a hard, long journey. I'll just have to keep working on it.

      Delete
  5. I worry about this a lot, and one thing that's good to remember is that everyone has different opinions--a book that I consider to be wonderful and lifechanging may be just average and boring to someone else. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is really true and I forget it a lot! It's all about perspective.

      Delete
  6. I wrote up a great comment and then it got deleted, so here goes again.

    Hey, you great human. I know this feeling. It sucks. It's overwhelmingly miserable sometimes. But in a way, it's a tad comforting to know that you've felt this way too, because I know your stories matter. I say that because I've read them. Because I think about them every day -- they've impacted my life profoundly. Your writing has shaped much of who I am today, much of what I appreciate about myself. It's powerful. It's meaningful. It's important. That's probably hard to see most of the time, because even when someone's words have profoundly impacted you, it's not always super visible on the outside. I don't mean to focus on me, or anything, but I say this to remind you that your stories do mean something. They mean a lot, and I'm certain I'm not the only one for whom that's true. It's true that you aren't any Neal Shusterman or Pierce Brown, but you are Aimee Meester, and that means so much. It means more every day. I know I'm not the only person who has been changed by your writing, and I know there are countless more people who will be. So.

    (And seriously, I'm always up for reminding you of that. Hope you're having a great day, chid!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh I already told you this but thank you so much because this helped a lot <3

      Delete
  7. YES YES YES. This this this. I'll tell you what I always remind myself of. TS Eliot really didn't like Animal Farm.

    TS ELIOT

    ARGUABLY THE BEST POET OF THE 20TH CENTURY

    AND A REALLY IMPORTANT LITERARY CRITIC

    DIDN'T LIKE

    ANIMAL FARM

    A MASTERFUL WORK OF ORWELL

    INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT IN CHRONICLING THE 20TH CENTURY.

    EVEN
    THE
    GREATS
    ARE
    NOT
    INFALLIBLE.

    Basically, the point is, BOOKS ARE SUBJECTIVE. Some people don't have their lives changed by Gatsby. Remarkable, but true! And if not everyone loves your book, there will be SOME for whom it strikes a real chord, for whom is the most important, the most impactful, the most eye-opening. You can't please everyone, but you can please some, and that's what counts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You made me smile AND feel better about stuff, so it's a double win. :) Thank you so much!

      Delete
  8. GIRL! Girl. Gurl... Yes! You just went and described it perfectly. I have been going through the Exact. Same. Thing. I think you pointed out something critical to fabulous writing in this post though. Honesty. In this post you were completely honest about how you felt about something, and that made it unique and powerful. I have faith in you Aimee! We can get through this with lots of coffee and Pinterest and a bit of patience. (-;
    <3 Lizzy
    P.S. Yes. I LOVE your new header!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww thank you so much! This is so sweet and encouraging.

      Delete
  9. Same. I often worry that my books won't be that good or have an impact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *sigh* It's really a big struggle. I guess I have to keep reminding myself that writing takes work and practice and all that good stuff, and it WILL impact someone one day, even if we don't expect it.

      Delete
  10. This post is awesome. I have been feeling the exact same way recently. You, my friend, have nothing to fear. You are an incredible writer!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I feel like this all the time, I am so insecure with my writing.
    I think just this post was powerful, so I`d say your on the right track.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! *hugs* I wish you the best of luck with writing stuff too. Keep on writing!

      Delete
  12. It won't be meaningful to everyone.

    It won't even be meaningful to a lot of people, unless you're JK Rowling or George R.R. Martin.

    It will be meaningful to one person, though, and if that's it, it will have been enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this reminder -- it's absolutely true and I appreciate it a lot.

      Delete
  13. I'm sure this post is going to be super popular because I feel like most people go through the "Does what I am doing matter?" phase. I personally think it's a very important phase of life and questioning things and finding where exactly you are needed in the world. I have yet to go through it, and to be honest, I am dreading the moment that I do. Where I'm at right now is: There are stories that have impacted me that nobody knows the name of. If I can write a story, and if someone can read it and be impacted or even just think a little harder about something because of me, then it will all be worth it. My desire is to give someone something to think about. Whether that be God, cruelty, abortion, or even just a different place where things are exciting... I hope that you are able to find where your stories are needed, because I can promise you that they are. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Every inch of this is me. You're not alone.
    At this point I'm simply in too deep to quit. :P
    But it wouldn't do any good to quit anyway, just keep writing and see where it goes...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm not sure how, but I only just saw this post today. And wow, Aimee. I think you hit home with all of us writers. I felt that way at the workshop. They all say we have a story worth telling, but do we REALLY? I've never faced any huge trials in my life. Nothing worth writing about, at least. What do I really have to offer?

    But then the other day, I realized there are a lot of people like me. A lot of people who are afraid they can't reach people because they haven't faced much in their life. They haven't struggled with loss of loved ones, mental illness, poverty, etc. They've lived an easy life, and they're afraid that somehow makes them ... less than others who have faced those things. And maybe, just maybe, since I fit into the category of "easy life", I can handle some little things that mean a lot to people. We all have something to offer, because we all see the world differently.

    ReplyDelete
  16. *is awkwardly catching up on awesomeness I missed during my bloggy hiatus*

    But wow, this post resonates within me. You see, I'm a person who wants to do something big with my life. I want to change the world. I want to make an impact on more than two people.

    And sometimes, the fear comes that I won't ever do that. That I won't do anything big or amazing. Especially through writing. I'm just trying to remember that I'm not the one changing the world, God is working through me. I'm trusting He's given me the ambition to do great things because that's what He's planning to do with me. Whether through my writing or through something else.

    ReplyDelete

hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.