Avoiding Crisis

i’m feeling a bit like a fraud these days

with 8 comments

Here’s the deal.  Back when I started this blog, a whole 2 1/2 months ago, I wrote this.  A few weeks after, I expanded on this and this was then published here.  It was easy to do, really.   I sat down at my computer found a topic that interested me and just wrote.  It didn’t take forever;it wasn’t painful.  To be honest,  it was kinda fun and exciting.  And you know what? It didn’t turn out so bad either.  People actually read the article and commented.  That was how it began.  And, apparently, ended.

Around the same time an old friend from college emailed me with some advice she passed along from her sister, who happens to be a successful writer – if you want to write, that’s terrific, but first you must decide what it is you want to write.  Okay, easy enough – non fiction essays, social commentary and opinion pieces.  What to write isn’t really the problem. The problem, has more to do with not knowing what to write about? 

I’ve been paralyzed over the last month and haven’t been able to motivate myself to write much more than this blog. Not to take anything away from this blog.  I feel like it’s been going quite well.  I put a lot of effort and energy into what I write here and unfortunately, when you factor in all the other things I have to do in a given day, it leaves little time on the side to do non-blog writing. 

So, what should I write?  What’s my niche? Who am I in the grander (writing) scheme of things? Where do it fit in? I’m not really sure what I am, but I can tell you what I’m not.  I’m not a fiction writer.  I’m not a hard news writer or a business writer.  I’m not an advice columnist.  I’m not an expert on any one topic.  I don’t write chick lit.  I’m not pretentious nor intellectual.  I’m not a wordsmith.  I’m not snarky.  Here’s what I think I am:  I’m average, typical and pretty darn predictable.  I write like I talk.  I use simple words and simple structure – all-in-all, I’m just a pretty simple gal. 

And, what should I write about? Write what you know, I’ve been told.  Here’s what I know.  I know about being a trailing spouse, about being an expat, about living overseas, about international moves, about culture shock, about finding yourself living in another country where you don’t speak the language, about learning what it means to be an American and simultaneously questioning what it means to be American.  I know about getting married young (by today’s standards), having children early in life, about giving up the idea of having a career, about losing yourself and about learning that it’s okay not to know what you want to do with your life.  I know about mental illness, I know about the pressure of perfection, about intense competition, about the fear of failure and even about the fear of taking risks. 

But really, what do I know?  What does a 29 year old trailing spouse mother of two really know?  With what authority do I speak?  And herein lies the problem.  It’s not about not knowing what to write, or even what to write about. It about confidence and self esteem.  It’s about taking chances and risks.  It’s about stepping outside the comfort zone and trying something new and different.  It’s about working at something and not expecting everything to come easy.  It’s about putting yourself out there for others to see.  It’s about being vulnerable.  And it’s about speaking with authority even though you don’t think you have any.  It’s about holding your head up high even when you’re terrified and want to hide.  It’s about going out and doing it and not just saying your going to do it. 

I guess it’s time to take that leap.  I just wish it wasn’t so damn hard.


Written by nicolemarie

March 27, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Posted in personal, writing

8 Responses

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  1. I know this is anticlimactic after your excellent post, but one way to circumvent a lot of those problems is to write with a pen name, at least until you feel more confident. *shrug*


    March 28, 2007 at 12:00 am

  2. I’m sorry if I might have already said this, but read Annie Lamott’s, “Bird by Bird”. It’s quick, enjoyable and valued by most professional writers I know.


    March 28, 2007 at 8:17 pm

  3. No, Barry, you haven’t recommended that one before. Thanks. I’ll look into it.


    March 28, 2007 at 8:21 pm

  4. what’s the worst that can happen? whatever it is, you can handle it.


    March 28, 2007 at 8:33 pm

  5. I liked this post. I think you will find that your best writing will come from authenticity, not authority.

    You do not have to give opinions or news summaries. You can give peeks into the life of someone like you.


    Penelope Trunk

    March 28, 2007 at 10:26 pm

  6. Thanks Penelope. But it is kinda hard to think that there is anyone that would be interested in knowing about someone like me. Again, that confidence thing and self doubt just seems to get in the way. Btw, I really liked yesterdays post about trying to be a dilettante – felt like some personal advice. 😉


    March 29, 2007 at 10:00 am

  7. Nicolemarie – everyone’s life holds stories that are interesting to others, and how someone else negotiates through life provides insight into one’s own travels. write from your gut and heart, and enjoy the process – that will be conveyed to others.


    March 29, 2007 at 11:13 am

  8. Suburbanlife, It should be all about enjoying the process. But what happens when the process is forced and you aren’t enjoying it. This blogging thing I enjoy, I like being able to flex my writing muscles a bit on a almost daily basis. Though I feel like I should be doing more, but maybe it’s just not time yet, especially if i’m not enjoying doing “more”. right? As always thanks for your comments. nicolemarie


    March 29, 2007 at 10:38 pm

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