Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Writer Diaries (Or, Feel the Fear, and Write it Anyway)

Like many an erstwhile reader and blogger, your dear Reading Addict dreams of one day being called a writer. Except it's more than a dream, isn't it? If you've been there, then you know that it is.

I've moaned about my life before now and in the course of that post (which was a lot less self-pitying than I make it sound here, honest!) I mentioned that one of the reasons I started this blog was because I've always wanted to be a writer. And it's true. I can't stop writing sh**.

I also love reading. Love it, love it, love it (as you've probably guessed from the books blog...) I know I'm a reader - and I don't make any money out of that either, so why does it feel so weird to call myself a writer? I write loads - and not just e-mails like most people I know. I pretty much write anything and everything. But, aside from blogging etc., and a few things I wrote a million years ago for kiddies competitions, I'm unpublished. Is that my problem? Is that why I can't bring myself to call myself a writer; I don't call myself an artist either, and I draw and paint a sh**-load too. I call myself a knitter, a card-maker, a crafter - and I don't do any of those professionally.

Is it a case of acceptability? If you call yourself a writer, an artist, a painter, a singer, a musician, then you're revealing a part of yourself to the world - a deep-seated part that feels more than a little vulnerable to the criticism you receive, not only for your work, but for the very fact that you have work. Being a knitter, a reader, a dancer, whatever somehow seems more socially acceptable, because a lot of people have those hobbies and it's considered 'normal' - something that anyone can do if they have the time and the inclination (even if that's only true to a greater or lesser extent.) Being a writer is something you're born with - I'm sorry, but it's true. I can't remember a time when I didn't write - literally. (And I'll let you in on a little secret - if you want to be a writer, then you are.)

Should I give up? Never write another word? Even the idea is making my anxiety flare up!

But then, what can I do about the fear of being judged because of who I am - a writer, albeit an unpublished one? I acknowledge it (never ignore your feelings people - it's not healthy,) and then, what I need to do, is to say screw it and write anyway! I know that this is easier said than done. But I have a secret weapon - I love writing. There is nothing like that feeling - just like there's nothing like the feeling of reading, or the feeling of drawing, or the feeling of painting... All of these things are different, and all are so amazingly absorbing that you know when they're for you.

That's not to say that every moment of it will be pleasurable - far from it! I veritably turn the air blue with my swearing (and that's just the stuff I don't type!) and I doubt that people who play tennis enjoy slipping on the court; I doubt that people who collect sh** enjoy it when they can't find that limited edition - or when they drop and smash that prized possession. But goddamnit I'm writing anyway! If you enjoy something - do it! (Within legal and moral parameters people please, I'm not going to be blamed for a crime spree.)

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