A blog post about why I suck

When it’s been a while since I’ve written or created anything I can be proud of, I start to feel like I’m the most worthless person in the world. I feel like I never want to write again because I suck at it so bad.

Yesterday, for instance, I spent hours writing a miserable essay about David Foster Wallace and John McCain and moral authority and suicide which may or may not have proposed that Sarah Palin killed DFW with a fleet of grizzly bears. The post was live for a few hours when I received a very nice email from a reader saying (basically) “No. No no no.” And I appreciated this email because 1) it showed that someone was reading my blog; 2) it showed that some generous person considered my writing superior to that horrible post; and 3) it convinced me to retract the post (breaking my no-retractions policy for the first time, but for good reason!), which delivered me from a lot of embarrassment. Thank you, wise reader.

But now I’m left with this feeling again, this feeling of being the worst writer in the world. I haven’t been writing much at all in the past few weeks but I keep dreaming about writing: writing epic short stories, writing the great American novel, writing feel-good poems about cats. This morning I wrote something awesome while I was sleeping and my arm jerked out to receive a high-five. I immediately woke up to see my unslapped hand hovering there over the bed. I was mortified that I’d been left hanging, but also that my subconscious writer brain aspires to high-fives instead of Bookers and Pulitzers. Maybe I should have joined a sports team instead of starting a blog.

6 Thoughts on “A blog post about why I suck

  1. For what it’s worth, I appreciated the post on David Foster Wallace.

  2. Thanks, Sean. I might revise it so it doesn’t feel so all-over-the-place and then repost.

  3. Oh yeah, you suck at writing. You should TOTALLY find something else to do. You should abandon your gift and schedule several unbearably obnoxious meetings with Vince McMahon about bringing CLAW to the masses (actually, that’s not such a bad idea ; )

    I thought your essay was brilliant; so much so that I wanted to comment, but didn’t because I simply felt unworthy of commenting. Not to get all Gettysburg Address on ya, but it was far above my poor power to add or detract. So I said nothing. On this little post here, however, may I just say, “keep writing Ms. Murray.” And ^5.

    : )

  4. Ha – it took me a minute to figure out that was a high five. Thanks, John! I am feeling much better now.

    I had misgivings when I posted the thing, and I still have misgivings. I was grateful to the guy for writing to me with his own misgivings. But it’s cheating to deprive myself of some humiliation so I’ll probably end up posting the stupid essay later with major footnotes a la DFW.

    Anyway sometimes I just have these bad weeks where I feel like I suck and there’s nothing I can do about it. Thankfully these periods peter out eventually and I go back to being my usual cocky self, i.e. THE BEST WRITER IN THE WORLD.

  5. I would like to also voice my appreciation for the now-deleted post. I thought that you showed your trademark insight combined with your dark sense of humor. i am still so at a loss for words about him and what he has meant to me that i was doubly impressed that you composed something thoughtful so quickly following his suicide.

  6. Anonymous on September 17, 2008 at 8:43 am said:

    i think you should repost the article AND the email that caused you to take the article down, so we can all see if the criticism was unfounded. it could be a real exercise in literary criticism!

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