Just Keep Swimming

Sometimes I feel as if I have just shot myself in the foot.

I mean, I’ve loaded the gun. Lined it up with my foot. Pulled the trigger. And POW!

Foot has been shot.

That’s how this Harry Potter paper is making me feel. Like, I have all these ideas and plans and evidence from the texts and outside sources and a detailed outline all done. And then I sit down to write the paper and BAM! I run into a wall. I keep looking at my paper and get worried. All I see are quotes that I’ve strung together, my “original thought” sentences connecting the better phrased quotes together.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve tricked everybody into thinking I’m all brilliant and everything. Surprise! I’m not! Ugh.

But then I think: No. You can;t have fooled this many people. Not the acceptance board at my graduate school. Not my husband (who can read me like an open book). Not my parents. Not all these amazingly awesome teachers at my grad school. No. There is no way I fooled them all. So then the person I’m fooling has to be myself.

I am brilliant. I can write this damned paper. And it will be awesome.

So sitting here staring at the screen (not writing my paper), I think of some advice that author Ellen Kushner gave me this summer: Get the words on the page. Get a frist draft done. Let it be shit. Let it be a shitty first draft. Because that’s what it is: a first draft. You can’t fix nothing. If there are no words on the page – you can’t refine them. But I can refine shit. I can take a piece of coal and turn it into a diamond.

And then I think of Finding Nemo

Just insert “writing” for “swimming” and you could have my theme song.

So, what am I going to do?

I’m going to keep swimming. And so should you if you hit that awesome wall of self doubt.

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