I am a needy writer, a needy friend, a needy person in all aspects of my life. This morning, waking up already in a state of melancholia, I asked Stephanie if I might read to her from the story I’ve been working on. She agreed and I read to her while she got ready for work. What she heard, she seemed to like. That was fulfilling but I still felt as if my tank was on empty. The day that followed drained everything out of me and tonight I feel as though I really do have nothing left.

I was trying to get an e-mail campaign going at work this morning and at every turn I was running into another stumbling block. Red tape was slowing me down as well, with every change I made to the marketing copy having to be escalated through two or three others. It was a mess. We were running late. My chest was hurting and my stomach was going sour.

Eventually I got shit done and the only positive part of it all was that I had gotten through two-thirds of my day without noticing it. After lunch I logged into my offsite e-mail account and saw that the feedback on my first writing submission for this semester had arrived.

I opened it. The message was two lines long, with the meat of the criticism in the attachments. Basically she wrote that she had taken me to task and the comments inside each attachment proved that. Fragile as I was feeling, the downward spiral began.

I wrote the following letter to my Lesley writing pals:

Hi all,

I’m sitting at work, having just endured one of the most horrendous work weeks of my life and thanking God that I have Friday off. I received my response from [My advisor] this afternoon and it confirmed all of my fears. My latest work is abysmal and I’m wondering if it isn’t time to give up this foolish notion that I might actually be cut out for this “writing” stuff.

Trying to work a balance between work and school and the rest of my life is proving too difficult for me. I get home at night and have no time to read. I still get up in the morning to write each day but what I produce is generally dreck. I wonder if it