It's been #&*@ weeks since my last confession. Actually I don't recall my last one. I'm thinking it's been over a month.
I don't know how many of you have routine chiropractic treatment (generally called adjustments) but they are a routine in my instance. This because I have a back condition that I've had since adolescence. For years I endured the pain - trying mostly to treat with various pain medication. These were generally only moderately helpful. Once I started seeing a chiropractor several years ago, my periods of pain relief significantly improved. But I know that this requires ongoing adjustments to keep my back skeletal structure aligned.
If I may metaphorically speak for a moment (as poets will at times do) I've come to look at my writing in much the same way as my back. I will be writing along and suddenly I become disenchanted with my results. When this happens I begin to question my writing in general. Last year, and the early part of this year I enjoyed a good deal of success with acceptances of submissions to journals. The last few months however have been dry. This too has coincided with some hyper criticism by myself of what I've been writing over this same period. Then there comes a convergence of past, present and future. It looks something like this:
- I'm not happy with what I am currently writing
- I begin to question my earlier successes as flukes and conclude the work is not that good
- I project all of this negative crap into the future and begin to think I'll never write decent stuff again
I'm sure others may recognize this because I suspect I'm not the only one indulging in this pitiful self-assessment.
There are times in the past when I've gone through this (not the first time) and I have found it helpful to get an adjustment. Not at my chiropractor but by working with another poet for s brief period of time. I find that it's an excellent way to learn things that will help me and reinforce things I know but begin to question because my anxieties are telling me I must be doing things all wrong.
It's been two years since I've had such a tune-up and I confess (thought I'd forgot the confession part didn't you) that the self doubt has been pretty intense lately and I've decided it's time do make arrangements to readjust my attitude, work habits and approach to my writing so I've contacted someone who has coached me in the past and plan to get my act together this fall.
I know that I feel better as a person when I'm writing and satisfied with what I'm writing. I confess that when I go through a block or feel the quality is diminished I tend to feel something significant is missing in my life and I'm just not whole.
The good news is that I realize there is help for this too, just like there is help for my back condition.
Good to know!