Antidote to the Y.S.Y.D.S. game

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In writing the novel, there were moments when something beautiful happened; when sentences appeared onscreen as perfect as pie. And weeks did go by when I was happily obsessed with the secret lives of the characters unfurling. But most of the time it was a just a fuckload of work. I doubted it would ever be good enough to share. That’s why I choked at the very end of the process, as I was submitting it to potential agents.

You see, by keeping my story in my laptop and head, I could play this really cool game called You Suck You Dumb Shit …whenever I wanted! (Y.S.Y.D.S.–don’t you love it when the acronym is harder to say than the words?) If my book is never published and never read, I reason, I can keep torturing myself by playing out ridiculous fantasies where:

a)   It’s praised as “the voice of our generation,” “a cunning retelling of a classic love story gone awry,” and “San Francisco’s best tale since Tales of the City.”

OR (still in my head, that glorious beast):

b)   It’s assessed as “Crappy white girl drivel. Its author should be water-boarded for adding to the piles of typewritten trash in which the world is already drowning.”

If I never share my writing, you see, I can inflate and berate myself at whim! I’m then bound to stay twisted up like a stale old pretzel, unable to produce a word…thereby avoiding all possibility of criticism and failure!

Yes, it’s hard to be such a genius of mental gymnastics.

I spent all of 2009 in a dark and fallow state related to my novel and creative pursuits in general. I crawled out from my cave in December, relieved to see a glimmer of a vision for a future life. I agreed to be here happily in idyllic Rockridge; to go nuts for this beautiful family and life; and to take a risk and just start blogging, even though I HATE that term. Yuck. A blog sounds like something coughed up from a smoker’s lung.

Anyway, Praise Be to WordPress, it’s 2010 and I’m writing again! (God, I do annoy myself sometimes. Anyway–I was trying to be positive.) Through this simple outlet of words on a screen, about whatever I want, I feel so much more…myself. Just happier, period. I’m also getting more sleep this year–but that’s another story.

To conclude this one I just have to say, to whisper in everyone’s ears: take that little bit of time you need. Do something small, another step towards your dream, the one you think is too far-reaching.

I have to remind myself that trying and failing makes for a much better story than never trying at all. We have to believe. We have to try. It’d be too painfully boring if we didn’t!

Thanks for reading,

Your Margot

About Post Author

Margot

I wrote my first novel "Richland" in cafés in San Francisco’s Mission District, after working during the day as a producer at design firms. I graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley, with a degree in Political Science, and lived in San Francisco for more than 14 years. The siren song of the East Bay lured us after our son Alejandro was born. We're now adjusting to life in the weirdly idyllic neighborhood of Rockridge, Oakland.
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