Feeling Inadequate

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Yesterday, I tried something new. I went to Vino Picasso to drink wine and paint with some friends. When I arrived I saw a blank canvas on an easel and said, “where are the numbers?” My friends laughed but I was serious. Did they really expect me to paint from scratch? I was worried and rightly so because the only thing I’ve ever been able to draw is a cube. It’s my one and only doodle. They wanted me to paint a Halloween scene. I felt the stress and quickly understood why wine is usually involved.

The teacher kept telling us to stand back and look at our painting from a distance. When I took a step back suddenly all the imperfections weren’t as clear. My glob of black kind of resembled a bat. The witch didn’t look exactly like the letter S and with a little imagination there did appear to be a cat in the window.

This idea of taking a step back in order to see a work of art more clearly carries through to writing. There have been many times where I’ve forced myself to sit and face a blank page and just type–do something. Sometimes the words flow, but sometimes my body tenses and I’m frustrated; feeling like the worst writer in the world. When that happens I need to retreat and not scrutinize every word. Looking too closely and seeing all the imperfections before the scene is complete allows my fear to replace my freedom to create.

There were many of us painting and listening to tunes. Occasionally, I would look up from my canvas and scan the room at other’s work. A woman in front of me had skipped the easy crooked house and decided to paint an elaborate castle like mansion complete with tiny windows glowing yellow. Well, I’ll admit I couldn’t even draw the easy crooked house. I had to ask for help. One look at her mansion and I immediately felt pangs of inadequacy. Because this was my first time painting, I wasn’t too bothered by my lack of talent. However, in writing this same feeling of inadequacy can rear its ugly head, especially when reading John Green or Jodi Picoult. Sometimes I forget that writing takes practice and novels take years. The most successful authors have put a lot of time towards their craft, much like the woman painting the mansion. Comparing myself to other writers stops me from growing, failing, learning, and following my own unique journey. It’s easy to feel inadequate because then I have an excuse to give up. What’s difficult is continuing on and facing the reality of knowing I have a long way to go. What’s even more challenging is understanding that even in all of my uncertainty and tumultuous feelings it’s important to enjoy this process of growing into the writer that I want to become. My stories and this blog are a glimpse into who I am. I will never write like another writer or tell the same story because although I can try walking in their shoes I will never be their shoes.

I may not have left Vino Picasso with a stunning work of art but I learned the importance of stepping back and breathing in the process of learning to create–viewing my art from a distance when necessary and then going back and trying again. I also learned the importance of vulnerability and being able to laugh with my friends over my mistakes. Vino Picasso was fun! And that’s exactly how writing a manuscript should be.


Comments to "Feeling Inadequate"

  1. Jamie Ayres

    October 27, 2013

    John and Jodi are AWESOME, but the world doesn’t need another one of them . . . we need K.D. Rausin 🙂 Good word!

    • kdrausin

      November 1, 2013

      Thank you,Jamie.

  2. Emma D Dryden, drydenbks LLC

    October 30, 2013

    Krista, this is so wonderful! This is just the sort of thing I was talking about at YBB workshop — using all of your senses to create art. Kudos to you for going on this important creative adventure! It’s all part of the journey you’re on to write your next book!

    • kdrausin

      November 1, 2013

      Thank you, Emma! Thanks to you and the YBB workshop this new book is consuming me. It feels wonderful to spend my days with new characters. There’s so much to learn about them! I don’t know where my protag. came from. I guess she was waiting deep within until it was safe to appear amongst compassionate writers.

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