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Writing is a Process. A Long Process.

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I've been "writing" my "first book" for a few years now. It started, like all books do (I assume), with an idea. An idea that wouldn't go away.

At some point (I don't know exactly when because I wasn't keeping a journal back then) while working on my PhD, I had this idea for a book. It'll be about a new mom who spirals down into post-natal depression driven by a combination of her perfectionism and social media exposure. My idea back then was that at some point we'd discover that the narrator is unreliable because everything is happening (mostly) in her head. Then I thought, but how would we know? We need someone else to tell us what's happening in the real world. Then, when I started writing it, I wrote it in a close third person, so, the narrator is outside of the protagonist's head and can tell us both what's happening in the real world and what's happening inside her head.

I think I couldn't have written the first draft in first person voice. It was too close, too personal. When I started writing this book, the protagonist was me. But the more I wrote, the more she became differentiated from me. This was the only way I was able to write her story, to create some distance between her and me.

Now, when I read the story, I want to go back to the original idea. I want to write this from the protagonist's perspective because it's what's right for this story. It will also be a much more interesting story, I think, if it's written 'in her head'. But now I think that I may not be a good enough writer to pull this off. I have doubts about my writing abilities, and I've shared them here before. I think there's time and there's a lot of hard work before I'm the best writer I can be. The writer I want to be. And now the question becomes, am I good enough to write this yet?

I don't know. I don't know that I'll ever be good enough to write this story the way I want it to. I don't know if that's perfectionism or a realistic view of my abilities. I don't know if this story is even a good idea. But I know that the only way to find out is to keep going. And so I do.


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