Posted by: mercuriahibernica | 09/08/2013

Holy crap, it’s been a year!

It’s been a year since I last posted on this blog. . . A whole year. . . And six days, but who’s counting those? In that time I’ve written one full short story, I think, and that’s just flash, so it’s under 500 words. I’ve gone on with two longer stories that have been fermenting quietly over the years, and that’s it. And I call myself a writer? Some bloody cheek, if you ask me!

One of the writing books I dip into has some useful writing prompts in each chapter, and one of them is to write about my “creative self”. So who is the Creative Me? I’m not sure, but if I were to draw a self-portrait, I think it would have to be a half-finished pencil sketch!

I’ve begun lots of writing projects over the years, but have very few finished pieces to show for it. I think this is down to a few key factors:

I’m a dilettante. I start things, and then turn into a dun-coloured butterfly and flit away to something else, then something else, then. . . well, you get the picture. The end result is that I have lots of good ideas, some strong story openings, but hardly any strong endings.

I’m not sure I’m any good. So I don’t stick with the pieces I start writing because I convince myself there’s no point in completing them.

I’m a perfectionist. I can’t believe I’d say that about myself, but there you go! Just because everything in my life isn’t “just so” doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be. I think I’m frightened to put in the effort to finish things off, because I worry that it won’t be right in some way. Instead of just finishing a piece of work and putting it out there, I fret over it and discard it because it wasn’t perfect first draft. Now, who on earth ever gets it right first time?!

I don’t want it to be thought that I never change what I’ve written, or revise it. The crossings-out in my manuscripts would make a liar of me if I did! I think I am nervous at the prospect of writing something “big” that will need editing, expanding, revising, rewriting. . . But I’m also excited by that! I picture myself doing serious rewriting, frustrated by the task but also energised, eager to see how the next draft of my story turns out, wondering if I’ll think it’s better or worse than the previous version. I just haven’t developed the habit of slogging at my writing yet.

So, what now for the budding author? Habit-forming, I think. Five minutes or so a day of writing to begin with, even if it’s just about writing, but anything to get me thinking and creating. Then type it up, put it on a memory stick, and upload to the blog next day. I haven’t managed to stick to that just yet: I’ve been writing, but keeping it to myself.  Today begins Phase Two of Operation Start Bloody Writing, Woman!, where I actually upload something I’ve written (and leave it up on the blog, not come back later on and delete it!).

So, to quote the Top Gear chaps, on that bombshell. . . here is the first bit of five-minute writing I’ve done in the last week, complete with <gasp!> revisions and editing and whatnot.  Now all I need to do is hit the “Publish” button 🙂

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