Allison Tait's posts on the topic of writing, ranging from the actual process to the ultimate goal - publication. This series has made me consider my own approach to writing - how I feel about it, why I write and where I'd like to see myself, maybe 10 years down the track. In order to do this, I need to confront some of my writing truths...
Time is not on my side
I struggle with setting aside time for my own writing. It's hard enough to schedule my casual freelance work (mainly grant writing, publicity and graphic design), let alone doing something just for me. I end up thinking that the time I write would be much better spent on money-making efforts - it seems self-indulgent to do anything else.
Augusten Burrough's mother worries me
I don't have a lot of confidence when it comes to my own writing. Yes, I enjoy what I write and I write things I'd like to read. But do I really think I write well? Maybe for about two seconds out of every five hours. Then the self doubt sets in. I am reminded of Augusten Burroughs' mother in Running with Scissors, who was seen as a crazy, deluded, talentless woman who wasted her time trying to write. I worry that person could be me.
Get a haircut and get a real job
Writing is not seen as a real job. I have therefore spent many years trying on many other jobs. Administration, accounts clerk, waitress, marketing, jillarooing - all great fodder for a literary career, but not really what I set out to do. Ever since I left school, I've dreamt of writing. I wanted to publish a book by the time I was 30. This year I will be 40 and I still don't have one finished manuscript to my name.
An agent - found and lost
Actually, the truth of the last sentence is that I do have a finished manuscript. It's for a children's book. I sent it away to an agent in the mid 2000s. I was signed up and it was sent off to a publisher. During this process, the person who had signed me left the agency. The owner of the agency then let me go. She told the truth when she said she didn't have any other children's writers on her list. It didn't stop me from suffering a broken heart. Or experiencing another blow to my confidence.
My bottom drawer is a stereotype
The above-mentioned manuscript now sits in the bottom drawer - really it does! I guess I should move it one drawer higher, if only to stop it from becoming a stereotype.
The truth about motherhood - apparently no one wants to read it
I have another project. It is a fiction novel for adults and concentrates on the first year of motherhood. It is a work in progress. The former mentioned agent put me off writing this story. She said that publishers shy away from stories about post-natal depression. Well, let them. If I ever finish my manuscript (!), I will find another way to publish. But only if people give me some good feedback first (please refer to my second point!)...
Sure anyone can have a blog and hit the publish button...
Mediocre writing can be easy but good writing is hard. I start typing then I go back and edit straight away, trying to compose the perfect sentence. This happens not only with my fiction writing, but on my blog as well. I need to remember to write first, then edit another day. Otherwise nothing, I repeat, nothing gets done.
The thief of time...
Time moves ever forward. As I race towards my 40th birthday, there are things I need to do. One was to finally move in to my own home. Tick. Next, commit to writing. Tick.
Wise things my husband says
Passion. The truth about finding it and following it, to make it happen. I was talking to Joe about my writing late last year, saying I finally wanted to take that leap of faith and commit to writing. After 12 years together, he's heard me say I want to write, oh about one or two.... billion times. Which lead to one of the best things I've ever heard him say:
'You have to have your passions, Lucy, because where else would we be without them?'
Thank you, Joe, I will leave it right there!