Worried Wednesday: Have I Created a Sham?

How interesting. When I typed in the word “sham” the spelling auto correct quickly changed it to “shame.”

Actually, shame is at the core of the little ditty I was planning on writing on this fine morning.

Now, originally, my plan was to write about how excited I was yesterday to have spent an awesome thirty minutes in Steak N’ Shake writing with a, (dramatic pause) pen!

Yes, treating myself to a pack of eight yellow mini legal pads has completely rocked my week.

Rocked my socks,


if I can stick with what is beginning to be a fine new plan,

will rock my world.

Search as I might, I can’t find the source of a wonderful essay on a writers forum that described mindsets that many, if not all of us have. The author said that all, not some, but all writers spend time fighting the urge to believe that what they are doing is a sham.

sham  (shm) n.

1. Something false or empty that is purported to be genuine; a spurious imitation.

2. The quality of deceitfulness; empty pretense.

3. One who assumes a false character; an impostor: “He a man! Hell! He was a hollow sham!” (Joseph Conrad).

4. A decorative cover made to simulate an article of household linen and used over or in place of it: a pillow sham.

When I was a teacher we didn’t feel like that – our job was clear: teach kids. And even though it is true that teachers don’t get the credit and appreciation that is deserved of our profession, we don’t spend much time at the chalkboard looking around the room at scruffy heads and scribbly papers and thinking, “Oh my, I’m not even sure if this day is real.”

Okay. Actually, when the pressure is on, such as, say, a typical teaching day that includes a fire drill, a nosebleed, a few forgotten lunches and an unannounced assembly here an there: these are the days that teachers wonder if they are on some sort of parallel universe.

But, for the most part – one of the nice things about teaching is that when it comes down to it, school is fairly cut and dry: children need to learn, so teachers teach.

And. One of the things that I’ve learned in just these few months of building up more and more intention with my writing is that the flip side of my self created solitude and freedom has been isolation and insecurity.

Ta da! In steps the grungy broken pen I found while waiting on my cheese n’ chile delight. As I dug through my purse for something to write with, most of my thinking was something to the effect of:

“Writer? Pllllspppbbbt. You don’t even have a damn pen,


whad up dog?”

Thankfully, I found the pen and gifted myself with an entire hour of glorious junk food and my very own handwriting. I scribbled furiously and didn’t even feel the need to people watch to be sure they don’t consider me a freak. By using my old pals (aka: pen and paper), I realized that not only did I have an awesome good idea, I have the guts to sail past the necessarily neurotic first few steps of panning out a big new project – just starting. That’s all. Just getting started.

What does all of that have to do with shame? I forget now. Oh well!

2 thoughts on “Worried Wednesday: Have I Created a Sham?

  1. I used to love to go to cafes and write. And I have always preferred writing with pen a paper first. I use spiral, lined notebooks just to keep track of them but do not edit in them for the most part. I just get down the onslaught and then put it in the computer to finish. But the pen and paper is an important step for me. Thanks for sharing this. I love hearing how other writers feel about being writers, their techniques, etc Thanks, too, for visiting me as Source of Inspiration. hugs, pat

    • I visit you often Pat – I always appreciate that I get a quick read as a result of your concerted effort…poetry is not a cake walk, and I’m glad that you do it well and often. Doing the coffee shop thing this morning…it will be good to be out and about…though my sniffly nose wants a nap…may very well do both! pax, K

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