#MondayBlogs: Being (Good) Enough

2 Mar


Another Monday brings another fantastic (and relatable) guest blogger who covers a topic revolving around reading and writing. Today’s heartfelt message is brought to you by Sandra Nyamu, blogger from Death On The Road. I think every writer has felt like they weren’t “good enough” to be published, and every writer has to find a way to overcome that feeling. Today, we are overcoming it together – thanks to Sandra Nyamu.

Being (Good) Enough

I am a senior in university. Last year, taking a required human sexuality course, my professor had us keep a journal about our thoughts and things, to be turned in at the end of the semester. The usual sorts of things; sexual anxieties, thoughts about genitalia, gay porn and clitoral structure. At least, that was what mine was about. Handing it in at the end of the semester, the professor told me that she loved my journal and thought I wrote well. So well in fact that in her estimation, I could do it for real. Become a writer, the published kind.

Kind words. She was telling me this and I was feeling, proud, flattered and a little overwhelmed, but mostly like there was a furnace in my stomach and that I was going to throw up. Becoming a writer, for me has always been that fantasy that I harbored dearly and practiced quietly. I roll quietly, but I roll hard. There is a very misplaced romance about the writer. Typewriters and steaming cups of tea, you know what I’m talking about. Frustration, tears and half-filled notebooks feels more accurate. Maybe it’s because of my upbringing that flattery evokes shame, but feeling like I was going to throw up, I understood why I was so anxious.

Faces- AbandonedI didn’t think I was good enough.

She believed I was good. To some degree, hell I believe I am good but then that elusive ENOUGH.

It’s never enough. You can be abundantly capable and talented but when you start thinking about being ‘something’ enough, you start to compare your ability. Can you create a story so compelling that it births a rabid and faithful following, sure but not like J.K Rowling did. Can you make casual yet tasteful oral sex jokes, yeah but not like Chinua Achebe did. Can you construct a complex metaphor hidden in a sob story about a weepy rich dude, yeah but not like Scott Fitzgerald did.

That fucking enough. It means nothing but is so charged with all the skill you think you don’t have that you believe it. ‘Not good’ as an assertion, that makes sense. That you can work with.  ‘Not enough’; that is a solid statement as well. When you invite ‘enough’ to the party, suddenly you introduce lack. Every lack you probably don’t have but then again, maybe do have, just not in the measure that you are convinced that you do. Lack of good words to use. Lack of smartness to show off. Lack of, here’s that other bad word, talent.

Enough comes alive and it becomes the thing that convinces you every last sentence was crap, that you are no Hemingway, you are no Ms. Bronte (any of them) and giving up would be the best course of action. When it has convinced you that you can’t write for shit, it moves on to other more enjoyable thing to devalue, yourself.

It happens in one fluid motion because writing is sort of intimate. Your words come from places that probably are only ever seen through those very words. If your writing isn’t good enough then you the writer are fucking awful. What was that thing that Gandhi said about self-doubt? No, he didn’t say anything about self-doubt. But if he did, he would probably say that doubting yourself is like sawing the arm off that you are using to write. Or maybe something less dramatic and more profound.

Deciding that there is an enough to live up to, to be up to, to write up to is exactly the way that recycle bins get filled, the way that half-filled notebooks become discarded, and great ideas atrophy unexpressed in fantastic brains. Maybe I am the type of person who could become published one day. Because I am good. I am enough. Writing is so subjective and intimate that there is never a good enough. There just is.

Bio: Sandra goes to school a lot and tries to have good ideas in her free time. Overwhelmingly average but aggressively earnest. When not reading or watching the Food Network, she tweets at Sandra Nyamu (@sandwichnyamu) | Twitter and blogs at Death On The Road.

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.


24 Responses to “#MondayBlogs: Being (Good) Enough”

  1. Mishka Jenkins March 2, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    A powerful post, but a feeling I think most of us understand all too well! 😀

    • Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

      It’s so easy to surrender to self doubt, thank you for reading!

  2. Kaine Andrews March 2, 2015 at 5:39 am #

    Reblogged this on Insomnia, Nightmares and General Madness and commented:
    A wonderful writer shares the thoughts that are probably on a lot of our minds about the evil word “enough.” Comments disabled here, please comment on the original post.

    • Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

      Thank you for taking the time to read. It is comforting that others feel the same way.

  3. lbeth1950 March 2, 2015 at 6:36 am #

    Excellent post. We all ask ourselves.

    • Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

      It is hard to get around, isn’t it? Thanks so much for reading!

  4. Shannon A Thompson March 2, 2015 at 6:45 am #

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Sandra! Fantastic post about an all-too-common feeling.

  5. Kylie Betzner March 2, 2015 at 9:54 am #

    Powerful, inspiring post, Shannon! Just what I needed today.

    I want to guest post. How do we set that up?

    • Shannon A Thompson March 2, 2015 at 10:22 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed Sandra Nyamu’s post! If you want to guest blog, please just email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I accept original posts that revolve around either writing or reading. A photo to go with the content of your post is encouraged, and a bio with links are encouraged as well. I’ll look forward to reading your post!

      • Kylie Betzner March 2, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

        Awesome! Thank you!

  6. Vantui March 2, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    The word enough is a huge word. I am currently in school as well pursuing a B.A. This last term I stressed over my weekly assignments to the point where my professor told me to calm down. She told me my was was wonderful and I she was not worried about me making the grades I wanted. It kinda went in one ear and out the other because when I read my work, it sound like crap. It always seems someone could write it better than me. I think, as writers, we need to get over that and realize that we are good enough, No, we aren’t like some other famous writers, because we aren’t them. We have our own voice and stories to tell. That is what makes us good enough.

    • Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

      We all are our own worst critics and we judge ourselves in ways we wouldn’t dream of judging others. It’s such a relief to let go of comparisons.

  7. Vantui March 2, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Reblogged this on Uncombed Cats & Cross-eyed Hens and commented:
    I don’t think I can really add to this. I think Sandra sums it up nicely.

    • Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad you liked the post, thank you for reading 🙂

      • Vantui March 3, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

        NP! I think it made perfect sense. I shared it for all my fellow writing students! I know we all feel inadequate at times. 🙂

  8. Jess Alter March 2, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    Wow. Just . . . wow.

    I empathize with every feeling and every observation on being good enough to publish. So many literary greats stand tall like sequoias, and I feel like a shrub in comparison. That last line, however, is the best reason to plant one’s self firmly in that literary forest:

    “I am enough. Writing is so subjective and intimate that there is never a good enough. There just is.”

    Thank you, Shannon, for hosting Sandra’s powerful message. Thank you, Sandra, for writing it.

    • Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

      Thanks for reading, it’s great that so many people identify 🙂

  9. Sandromache March 2, 2015 at 5:54 pm #

    Reblogged this on Death On The Road and commented:
    So, expressed some anxiety in a guest post on Shannon Thompson’s blog. It’s great, the blog, my post, mostly just okay.

  10. Barbara Barbex March 4, 2015 at 4:26 am #

    Reblogged this on The 960 Writers and commented:
    I feel this so much. Sometimes, maybe after someone left me a nice comment, I feel like I could actually write a good book or two. But then I start thinking and I lose all confidence.

  11. emmort March 8, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    I’ve had enough of not feeling “enough”. It’s such an awful sensation and it gets in the way of everything, not just writing! Such a brilliant article. Well done!

  12. Kitu_08 March 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

    Reblogged this on FromTheTurnstiles… and commented:
    Whether you’re not good ‘enough’ for writing, or for anything else. Surely everybody can relate in their own pursuit of “enough-ness”

  13. siamesemayhem April 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    First of all, feel very, very proud of your journal on sexuality. If I tried to write something like that, it would be an incoherent mess. Also, you express yourself very well, straight from the heart. I felt nearly ever word.

    Have you ever written a novel/short story?

    “Can you make casual yet tasteful oral sex jokes, yeah but not like Chinua Achebe did.”

    I lol’ed because I have been there.


  1. March Ketchup | Shannon A Thompson - March 30, 2015

    […] Being Good Enough: Written by Sandra Nyamu, we were all touched when we read this honest article, describing the feelings of every writer who has been discouraged. […]

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