Being a writer

So I have been a bit of a bad blogger of late. Actually I have been a sneaky bad blogger. My #100happydays series makes me look active, while in reality writing, blogging and all the rest of it – which some how has all got tangled up together – has been put to the side. It’s all I have been able to commit to really as RL has been a bit frenetic. But I haven’t forgot about it. I am still on my GEITFUDO mission. And today I had an epiphany.

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Had to get the wee man oot, since its a GEITFUDO post. Love him!

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes I was making lots of excuses. And they are excuses. Barring the apocalypse (no, it hasn’t happened, sorry, who knows maybe tomorrow..) we’re never that busy that we can’t get done what we really want to get done. Which means something is making me want to not write.

The more I don’t write, the more I think about why I don’t write. I’ve spoken before about fear of rejection, lack of confidence and so forth. Every time I sit down to write or even think about sitting down to write, I face the exact same fear: that I don’t have it in me to take the amazing stuff in my head and make it just as amazing on the page.  The ideas are always there; the scenes, the people, the emotions, even the words, pop up all the time, every where I go, inspired by everything I see, so the first part – probably in many ways the defining part – I do unconsciously, effortlessly and prodigiously. Unfortunately that next part is where the block sits. Kinda feels like this.

frog

But I’ve written 5 books. I’ve finished 5 books. I’ve liked stuff I have written, I’ve hated stuff I have written. I’ve edited, I’ve deleted, I’ve even plagiarised myself, so good I used it twice. I should be experienced and hardy enough to know its worth taking a chance. I honestly thought the thought itself would have been ditched by now, but even accepting I’m always going to have a bit of self doubt, surely I’ve reduced it to something small enough to easily step over?

Which made me think there was more to this block. I have spent a lot of time looking into it. WAAAY to much time given lack of result.

Do I put too much pressure on myself? I am a perfectionist, but beyond that I don’t just write for the love of it, I write to be good. I want a career out of this. This has actually been influencing my writing for a very long time. I decided I must become a writer at age 9. That ‘must’ is important. By age 11 I was thinking I really should be getting on with things. By 13 I had written myself off after reading a book and realising the fifty something author was far superior than I would ever be…

Thankfully I’m an introvert so no one had to listen to this (until now). Actually I say thankfully, but maybe it would’ve been better if someone had heard it so they could laugh some sense into me. Instead the thoughts, they might have festered.

By now, they have so taken root that I, my books and my potential career can never ever live up to expectation.

So.. I could always return to writing for the love of it. But you see, I never stopped writing what I loved, I never stopped loving to write and I don’t know how to stop wanting to do it for a living (and no one else is paying my way through life). As I said above I’m not uninspired. I have way too much stuff backlogged in my head waiting to be written. I don’t need to remind myself of what I once loved about writing, why I write, do I?

And that’s when my epiphany hit.

The answer is the same really as what I would get if I asked, why do I write? but to get at it (so I didn’t just end up with same old.. cause I love it so..) I needed to rephrase – which happened accidentally as all great things do. Or so I tell myself as I love serendipity.

Why do I want to be a writer?  The paid kind who get it do it all the time. What do I get from being a writer that makes it worthwhile?

Now some people would probably – if they were being honest – reply they like the image of being a cool writer type. All floaty thrift store dresses and funky hairdos and late night readings in coffeehouse- cum – tattoo parlour-cum – bus stop.. And I do too. I want to be this girl.

carrie-bradshaw-computer

but I also know the reality

Penny-Needs-Help-For-Her-Computer-Addiction-On-The-Big-Bang-Theory

Its not money. Though I say – no shame in that. You have to be honest for soul searching to work, otherwise its like frisking the man standing next to the man with the gun. Money has simply never motivated me. My mother had to bribe me with chocolate, and when we discovered I was allergic it really buggered things up. I enjoy many things money can buy, like chocolate and anti-histamines, but that’s not enough to motivate me past my fears. Neither is the admiration of others. Fame chills my passion like liquid nitrogen. Yes, its a bit humiliating to be seen to fail but fear isn’t a motivator. Not unless it involves the apocalypse (again not happened yet, sorry)..

The answer.. because I love to write. I know. But its true. I’m not just trying to be good to meet somebody else’s standard, I have a very specific internal measure because I know precisely what I want to create. I know how amazing it can be, because I’ve felt it when I have read stuff that is that good. To be able to spend my life creating, not just dreaming of creating, but actually making stories come to life, would literally be my dreams come true. And unfortunately nothing lives tucked away on a hard drive. As long as my work remains hidden its still might as well be in my head. It’s not had a chance to make an impact. What good is inventing a bicycle if no one ever rides it? And books are made to be read.

Seems my fear and my desire are the same thing. I just need to get to a place where the desire is strong enough to conquer the fear. I’ll let you know when I get there. I suspect its a long slow process. But I’m hopeful there will come that breakthrough moment when all the work starts to pay off.

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