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Iterations of a Writer

At the top of my Journal document, where I’ll see it every morning, is a blue message that reads:

The only failing is not trying at all. That’s the loss, the mistake, the cowardice. Be brave, Caragh. Be brave. Face this book you started. It was a good start. You wanted to finish a draft by the end of this year, so do it. Get on it. Go slowly if you must, but go. The rest can all wait, all of it, until later.

It’s a message from my past self to my today self, reminding me what matters and urging me onward. I sort of love that I can have conversations with different versions of myself. It’s like having a cheering squad of one.

My drafts are different versions of my mind, too, layering onto each other. My current first draft is so raw, so wild. I can’t even talk about the particulars of it yet to the people I love most because I have so much doubt in it. So much fear, actually.

Writers aren’t supposed to talk about their doubts until after the redemptive moment when they have a publishing announcement, as if that validates their efforts and weirdness. A publishing contract seems to confer authenticity on a writer, publicly erasing the reclusive, prodding mistakes that happened in the dark. Danielle Lazarin speaks poignantly to this in her recent piece on loss.

I’m here to say that this time, in private, away from eyes, this time is where I discover, over and over again, who I am, or who we are, all of us iterations of me, day after day.

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