Saturday, 6 February 2010

From the casket of insecurity..... A writer.... or a fraud?

This morning I made my way across the grass to Tuscany (yes, I have been attempting to keep my New Year's Resolution). 

But in my head, I have been in a strange place today.

Recently, I have spent most of my working day writing, enjoying the start of a new book, fresh new characters.  Not entirely sure where it is going yet, but for me that is part of the experience and joy.  So, you may ask, what is the problem?

As I made my way across the grass ....
( OK, so this isn't actually me  it's Loki - my daughter's cat - on her way to visit Tuscany)

.......a thought occurred to me - well, to be honest a series of thoughts, none of them conducive to continuing with my WIP or in fact writing anything at all. 

'Was it any good? Why was I writing it? Would anyone in the entire world be interested in what I was writing?  What were the chances of anyone wanting to publish it and if not why was I bothering at all, should I be writing something else instead?

I'm not sure what exactly sparked off this miserable journey of thought but it continued with the inevitability of a train crash - one that you can see is about to happen and you can do nothing to stop.  So follow it I did, to its logical end....  

'Here I am about to spend the next few hours of my day pretending to the world that I am a WRITER - that I write things people want to read.  Perhaps that's not true and maybe I am a FRAUD!  Should I just stop kidding myself, pack up my things and go and look for a real job instead?'

Now I'm not usually inclined to moments of such blistering insecurity. Like lots of other writers I have times, in almost every book, when I feel like throwing it all away and giving up, but not usually at the beginning.  I had been looking forward to being able to spend time writing this story; it had been in my head for a while, so why -  now that I had time - was I being so negative about it?
I soldiered on and arrived (a few steps later- it's not a huge garden ) at the door and fumbling with the handle managed to avoid spilling my glass of water over my laptop as I went in.
In the winter I put the heater on for a while before I go in, so it was pleasantly comfortable inside, the chair and desk awaiting my presence.  
Once settled there the automaton-me opened the file ready to start.  

'Should I stick with it or give in to the whispers in my head?'

With a sudden determination to slam shut the casket of insecurity I scrolled down to where I had left the characters, in mid conversation (always easier to start up again that way), and found I was among friends.  I could hear their voices and they were telling me their story once more.  
I want to find out what happens next and although there are no guarantees, I am back on the road again.

So what did I learn today? 

1.       To ignore the whispers from the casket of insecurity, they are MEAN and deserve no audience. 
2.        I write - therefore I am a writer, not a fraud.. for now at least!


  1. Know that we all have such moments. Thankfully, we survive them to write another page.

  2. Thank you Sharon, yes thankfully it passed - Much more positive today!

  3. I have to prowl in and say I felt a lot better after reading that because I had just scared myself into a "what did I do that for!" state where I thought I would never dare to write another word. Thankyou for sharing that.

  4. Hi Cat
    Don't think that you are alone in this. It doesn't matter how many books I have had published, there always comes that stomach churning moment when I submit a new piece of work, whether it is a novel or a short story. Until I get the verdict on it I am like a cat on a hot tin roof.. I almost don't want to know - but I am desperate to find out.

    Then there is the moment when it is published and I read it over, terrified that some mistake is lurking there, (Either one of mine, or even worse, one that has crept in during the publishing process). Knowing it will be indelibly set in print under my name for all to see...

    How wonderful is the world of the writer, how scary, too.

  5. Yes, definitely ignore the voices of doom about your writing in your head, Linda! I think most of we writers get them. And writing is most definitely a 'proper' job! Glad you're feeling more positive today - and what a beautiful cat. I have two of my own.

    Best wishes for your writing

    Julie xx

  6. Thanks, Julie
    Yes, I think it is just part of the creative process. If we thought everything we wrote was amazing we would lose all critical abilities. But then if we don't believe that our writing is wonderful, why would we bother at all - except that we can't NOT do it!

    I agree not only is writing a 'proper' job but has to be treated just as seriously by both the writer and the people around them.

    Thinking and saying that you are a writer can seem strange and difficult at first but if you don't believe it yourself, no one else is likely to.

    I know newly hatched writers often seem to think the rest of us have is all sussed. But creativity is a fragile and at times elusive flower that is easily crushed and needs careful handling to survive but publishing is a hard nosed, tough business to survive in, and you need both sides to make it all happen.

  7. Yes, you just have to stick with it and try not to let the voices get to you. Writing is often lonely hard work - but how great it is when it goes well!