I’ve been wanting to write a book since before I started university. I’ve always written stories and the summer before I moved (3 damn years ago) I was working on my first novel. I was going to uni to do Creative Writing and I was going to be a writer. And then I started the course. I quickly realised I hated the course with a passion and spent a year of my life being told my work wasn’t good enough by older people. It always confused me because people my own age and one or two lecturers really liked it but there were some that were just hell bent on saying I wasn’t good enough. Now I’ve never had the strongest self esteem, I understand creative criticism but when you work so, so hard to get onto a course to be told by someone who has never read a word you’ve written that you’re writing is bad, you kind of take it to heart. Well, at least an 18 year old who’s just moved away from home and who’s walking around in an incredibly anxious state takes it to heart. I feel better now that it was just her opinion and truth be told after I refused to be caught by her after some catastrophic writing she’d put online (claiming that anorexia wasn’t real), I distanced myself from her and felt a little better about my writing. People liked reading what I wrote online, so why wouldn’t someone publish it eventually?
I’ve kept up my blog for almost three years now and had another before that, one of the main things people comment on when they search for me is the quality of my writing. So why isn’t that enough? This time last year I’d just returned from Athens on a week long creative writing course. Everyone was there because they knew to some extent what they wanted to write and I did too, something that my undergrad course lacked. Again I got positivity and some really great feedback but then the inevitable happened and I fell out of love with what I was writing and then I was there with ideas. Great right? I wish. I have all these ideas but self doubt is crippling. I write something, look at it a few hours later and can’t stand it. I get anxious that I’ll make spelling or grammar error and then be seen as an idiot. It’s deep in my heart that I want to be a writer, I want to see my name in a bookshop and see my thoughts on paper.
I know for a fact I can do it and I will, right now though my head feels so muddled and confused. What should I write about? Do I work on the non fiction piece? Do I try again on that old novel idea or start something completely different? Am I writing for Adults or Young Adults. All these thoughts go around and around in my brain and if I try and plan I get even more anxious because WHY IS THERE NO MANUAL THAT TEACHES YOU HOW TO BE AN AUTHOR. Which is silly, there’s no golden rule, not curse to break or magic formulae to make sure people will love what you’ve written. I know all this and yet I still want to delete pages of writing or worry about ever finishing something. I’m hoping these are rational fears.
It may sound like I’m complaining but I’m not, I feel like I have so much to give but it’s almost as if it’s trapped in my head and just won’t negotiate with my hands. I have ideas every night before I go to sleep and think they’re magical I wake up after scribbling them down and wonder how the hell I’m going to make something out of them. I don’t know, I thought I’d have a draft of a novel by now and I know, I know books can take years and years to just draft and then even more to get published. I’m just trying to get out of this rut where I just look at the page in anger because it’s just not doing what I want it to. My biggest critic is now myself, but I think with the voices of others inside, from the past who really shouldn’t be there. So I guess I’m going to have to work on kicking them out and working out what the hell I want to put on to paper, that might be a good idea. Oh and I might find the bloody book in my head stored away somewhere just waiting to come out.
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2 thoughts on “Where’s The Damn Book?!”
I literally understand so much where you’re coming from. I’m currently studying English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. The tutors mark so harshly and put me down on everything. The first module with them has been so difficult. I’ve always known I’ve wanted to become an author, but I’m my own worst critic, along with those who have… to put it bluntly… gave up and became teachers and tutors.
I recall the first Creative Writing course I took was an A-Level at a far away college when I was 18, and the teacher assistant helped me out so much with my writing. He had a laugh and joke about my writing, and wasn’t much older than me. I felt I could relate to him a lot more than the other teacher who was in there late 30’s.
Now I’m 20, studying at University and I’m unsure of the path I’m trying to take with the degree. My point is that whatever I force myself into studying I began to hate it. These summer breaks are a god send. But I think it’s because you’re trying to force yourself to do something that you’re finding it hard? Or at least that’s the way I look at it.
All I can advice is to destress, take some time away from everything. I have a summer house in my garden and whenever I need time away that doesn’t cost anything – I go down there with my own thoughts and just write. Maybe try out writing exercises, go for a walk, take up a new hobby, go out and experience things, read a variety of books, constantly write whenever you feel like you should, and most importantly don’t be afraid of what other people think.
Be confident and honest with yourself and with your writing.
Good luck x
Thanks Kayley, I’ll definitely give those a try 🙂 Good Luck with your writing too! x
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