It’s been a month since I last blogged. How did that happen? Where have I been?
I’ve sacrificed my bubble of ignorance for observation; overhearing and capturing snippets of conversation that I find hilarious or disturbing.
The downside of observing others for research purposes, however, is the obligation to tolerate humanity. I despair!Overall, though, I couldn’t be happier with my progress at this point in time.
Nobody is immune from insecurities. So what am I insecure about this month?
Well, all this heightened writing activity has naturally had an effect on how I spend my days. Considering I don’t tell many people about my writing (you know, apart from the thousands of people who’ve read this blog), it would appear to most that I've either:
a) become obscenely lazy
b) become (even more) anti-social
c) developed a cleaning & organisation fetish
Let me illustrate this with a few conversation snippets.
A colleague asks: “What did you get up to this weekend?”
- Me (internally): “Oh, just opening a few veins, bleeding on to a page or ten.”
- Me (externally): “Oh, I just had a quiet one, I didn’t do anything, really.”
Mum calls me:“What are your plans for the day?”
- Me (internally): “A few clustering & freewrite exercises, followed by a mammoth writing session”
- Me (externally): “Oh, just rearranging my wardrobe and cleaning the windows.”
When disappearing from my desk every lunchtime (when for the last 5 years I’ve taken lunch at my desk), I'm asked: “Did you have a nice lunch?”
- Me (internally):“It was wonderful. I managed 1249 words in 34 minutes.”
- Me (externally): “Aye, it was alright.” (No further elaboration)
Why do I stop myself from mentioning my goal – nay, my purpose – in life? Because... people will act like you’re a weirdo, like you've just admitted to skinning cats for fun, if you do something as silly as that. Which makes them the real weirdos, really, but I remain silent nonetheless.
For me, telling someone you’re a writer is like telling a fellow Glaswegian you’re teetotal. You’re met with a glazed, confused stare. It’s beyond comprehension to many.
In the “Start Writing Fiction” podcast from the Open University, author Michèle Roberts gives some sage advice: “Don’t tell the wrong people that you want to write, because they’ll mock you and laugh at you.”
So who are the “wrong people?” Personally, I consider that to be everyone who doesn't infact write themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I talk about my writing, to an extent, to my nearest and dearest, but I wouldn't hark on to my neighbours or colleagues about it.
So why allow myself to come across as someone I'm not? Why not just confess my writerly ways?
Because it was hard enough convincing myself that writing isn’t simply an act of self-indulgence, without having to convince other people too.
The more involved I am with my writing, the more precious it is becoming to me, and the more fiercely I will protect my right to write.
I’ve opened that can of worms before. In a more gallus temperament, I’ve spoken of my writing ambition to some "wrong people". It invariably created questions. Sceptical questions. “What, so you think you’re going to get published? Do you fancy yourself as the next J. K. Rowling? You’ll have to keep your day job, of course.”
Calm down, pal.
In order to explain your writing dream properly, you’d have to spend a hell of a lot of time talking about yourself. And I don’t care for talking about myself. I’d rather go and write about other people, to be frank.
Sometimes I wonder if it scares some people, seeing someone pursue their dreams. Perhaps it forces them to wonder about their own dreams; ones that remain unfulfilled. The path to writing is unique because you can’t really follow step-by-step instructions to becoming qualified (believe me, I’ve tried), like the way you can in another career like a mechanic or a midwife. Maybe this is why most people don’t consider writing as a real profession.
One of the most common attributes of writers, I like to believe, is their ability not to care too much about what other people think of them. Otherwise, they’d be too terrified to even think about writing, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sinister attitudes and ugliness. Perhaps people genuinely are happy for you and wish you all the best with your endeavours. Maybe everything I just said above wasn’t a reflection on other people, but of my own insecurities as a writer.
In that case, when better to divulge these insecurities than in my post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, hmm?How is everyone getting on? Have you had any experiences of sharing your writing dream with the "wrong people"?
I shall catch up with all my fellow #ISWG writers over the weekend. Looking forward to it! x ◦