This is an image from Lynda Barry's beautiful book WHAT IT IS. She writes about how she tortured herself every day she sat down to work, asking herself "What is it? Is it good? Don't you know?!?!" The doubts were suffocating her creativity. Finally she learned (or re-learned) to accept and embrace the NOT knowing, and she was able to create again.
I have this page propped on my desk right now, to remind myself to have patience. Writing a book is an adventure, and we don't necessarily know how the journey will end when we begin. So why not just persevere, regardless of doubt and insecurity, and enjoy the scenery while we're at it?
I'll echo Emily Whitman's post, because it was simple and struck a chord with me: "Life is a balance. Writing is part of it." An important part of my life, but not the only part. When the writing isn't going well, there are other things - people I love, in particular - who can lift me up and help me through the rough spots. There will be rough spots; that's just how writing goes, for me, at least. But there is joy in the process as well, and that's why I'm still working at it. Not because it's easy, but because it's what I do.
It's a rich and varied life, this writing life. I wish all of you, bloggers and readers alike, a joyful holiday season. And an inspired year ahead.