After working on a book for three years, I decided to kill it this week. It’s a mercy killing: the book just wasn’t coming together. I argued myself out of its central thesis, and I simply lost faith in myself and my ability to write it. This is the second book I’ve killed off.
Perhaps I was too ambitious. Maybe I just started believing everybody who acted like I couldn’t do it. I really can’t count how many of my senior faculty have looked at me with grave eyes and said “You’re not a book writer” or who sucked in their cheeks and said “Really?” Perhaps it was the considerable undermining I deal with every day as a woman.
Maybe I am just as not as smart as I thought I was. I suspect a large number of people will exult in that last admission.
Either way, the light went out. I wish I felt free, but I do not. Just defeated.