For what feels like an eternity, I’ve been grappling with whether I have anything of substance to share beyond my first novel. Will it be an indulgent rant of self-pity, or will it honour the human struggle? Am I invested in it the way I was with the first novel? Or is the tedious repetition of adult themes in my life that inspires my writing just too much adulting for most who encounter its narrative?
Such thoughts have plagued me for a long time now. Some inspired by genuine self-doubt, but most spawned by the weight of a colourful life that most could not bear. Thinking aloud reinforces the imposter syndrome, and speaking into a void reminds me that I’m my only echo chamber.
Being cryptic is a natural disposition. A disposition that I expended every effort in my life to decode so that I could convey a coherent thought to any who would listen. My efforts appear to have resulted in an over achievement. Where once my challenge was in articulating my thoughts, I now stand accused of communicating in ways that are too complex. In my efforts to be as succinct as possible, it seems I’ve grown too dense in a single expression to the point of fatigue for the listener.
Balance between the two is what I’ve sought through my writing. Being able to read within the perceived mindset of the reader has offered me the opportunity to develop depth to my echo chamber. But, it’s still my echo chamber, manned by me, and occupied by none else. My objectivity is therefore subjective, and my perspective unreliable.
Therefore, I must dig deep into any snippet of feedback that I receive, trying to understand what is meant in the restrained or lethargic feedback that is spilled, almost hesitantly, as if a burden. Analysing and unpacking, decrypting and translating, finally leaving me with a glimpse of the truth behind the vague words offered as a description of how my writing may have been experienced. But I’m painfully aware that it’s still my echo chamber, manned only by me. Therefore none of its contemplations provide certainty or confidence. It only provides entry to yet another rabbit hole of doubt and over thinking.
Will I write again? I think I may. Will it be more impactful than the first attempt? I’m not sure. But I’m curious to know. And that curiosity can be satisfied in one way only. I must write, and I must share. My echo chamber is an indulgence of self-pity that holds little value and no promise.
The uncertainty of life must be celebrated, if not honoured. Without it, we’d be complacent beings disconnected from our souls, and each other. It is our collective fears that create the greatest moments of connectedness when we rise above those uncertainties, rather than surrendering to it.
The answer, I guess, is clear. I should (must?) not abandon my story now. There is still much to be told, and if I truly believe that it is more important to tell my story than it is for my story to be heard, then it’s clear that the sequel to my novel is not to be doubted. Instead, it must be embraced with more grit and tenacity than the first.
I may not have a soul to honour in the sequel, but I do have a narrator to respect, if not appreciate. This is more difficult than honouring another. It demands that I find that elusive balance between confidence and conceit, or self-worth and arrogance. In a world that defines the victim as the hero and the critical thinker as the oppressor, finding balance grows ever more elusive.