‘Guess what.’ I text him.
I pause, not sure of what to text back. I could talk about the bubbling worry inside of me, but I already did that so much. We talked about my anxiety yesterday. He can’t keep being the only person I shout my worries to.
But I could tell him. I could text, ‘I need to change the tense of my whole novel. Not many people like the present tense, which is strange to me. I’ve never had that problem before. And–’ No. I can’t text that. Instead, I text something along the lines of, ‘I’m almost done with this TV show. It’s pretty cool. You should check it out. One of the side characters doesn’t even have a neck.’
I’m not sure when I started double guessing whether I should tell people about my writing struggles. I guess it started in high school since I got more serious about publishing then. But everyone kept repeating how I wouldn’t be able to afford to live as a writer. ‘Writer’s don’t get paid that much. It’s not like you’ll become J. K. Rowling famous either.’
That’s when I stopped. Instead of giving them the joy of being right, I stopped talking.
When I think through what I need to do, it can sound like I’m complaining. It’s easy to tell when my friends are losing interest when I “complain.” Their word count diminishes to “okay” or “yeah.”
I still worry about “complaining” too much even though it doesn’t bother my friends as much as I think it does. Sometimes, I’ll ask for permission before I even mention my writing. Other times, I’ll stop typing and think back to the last time I “complained” to them. If it was recent, I’ll delete the message. Sometimes I’ll delete it after I press send, so I don’t have to see the message stare back at me when they don’t reply fast.
On days I don’t tell them, my muscles are tense. I write out everything I can think of that could fix my writing. I pace as if that’ll help me think of a quicker answer.
I don’t know how to cure it. I wish I did. But perhaps, you have this too. Maybe you worry too much about editing or “complaining: too much. If you do, know that you’re not alone. I understand.