Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Life Bites Writer On The Bum

I was rather pleased with the blog post I wrote yesterday.  But no one commented on it.  No mentions on Twitter.  No one writing to me.  I felt a bit, well, narked to be honest.  Not that I did anything like stomp around muttering 'no one loves me no one cares why do I bother', I wouldn't do anything as childish as that.  I went about my business hardly checking my email/twitter accounts at all but no one said a sausage.  

Doubt began to creep in.  Perhaps it wasn't as interesting a post as I'd thought.  Perhaps whatever insight I may have had had just run out.  Perhaps everyone had realised I'm just an old fraud.  Perhaps I was simply boring...  I made it to half way through the afternoon before checking the site to see what exactly I'd written. And then I discovered I'd pressed the Save Draft button and not the Publish button.  Durr. My pearls of wisdom hadn't been revealed to the world.

OK, so I'm neurotic (I originally wrote "a bit" but the interests of honesty won out).  But isn't that the way - life lies in wait for the unsuspecting writer until it gets a good chance to leap up and bite us on our bottoms.   

We prepare our work to read out in class, agonising over every adjective, and all anyone talks about is the POV change.  We send our work out, puzzling over how exactly we address Mr/Miss/Mrs/Ms Val or Jo or Robin Whatsit, and forget to include our contact details. We go to a talk about creative writing where the speaker mentions 'beats' and wake up in the middle of the night worrying because we haven't really understood what 'beats' were and whether they're a good thing or a bad thing and do we have them anyway?  

The writer's life proliferates with things to worry, fret and disturb us.  Other writers are successful and serene, they are swans on the water while I play the part of the comedy duckling that waddles along the bank before slipping beak first into a dollop of goose droppings.

But, although my life is littered with me getting agitated about things that have no real relevance, I think I'd rather be like that than super-confident about my writing.  Because then I'd see no reason to improve, there'd be no reason to listen to anyone else.  And I think that's why life really does leap up and bite you on the bum.

Now to press the Publish Post button...

Anyone in St Ives for the September Festival?  I'm giving a talk on Friday 23rd September at 11.00 am.  Go to the website for more info.


womagwriter said...

Life's been biting me on the bum lately - endless demands on my time meaning no time for writing let alone reading and commenting on blogs!

Sarah Duncan said...