Monday, 25 January 2010

Why I haven't always written...

Funnily enough, the reason I haven't always maintained my creative writing through my life is related to memory too.

I have always written diaries, or letters or poems or little stories, ever since I was a child. In my teens though, things changed. Firstly I became self-conscious about myself and therefore my writing, and this worsened as I became a lover of books, of other peoples' writing. This translated into studying other peoples' writing, at A Level, Degree level and Masters. Consequently, my own writing became a source of shame when compared to the masters and mistresses of literature that I was reading. Also, I was a young woman, unconfident and trained out of my creative aspects by my traditional academic education. I suspect this is not an uncommon story for your thirty-something middle-class woman. I certainly know a lot of people who would have followed a more creative path had it not been for the expectations of their parents and schools.

So it took a long time, probably near enough ten years, after studying literature, for me to be able to pick up a pen again. I needed to give myself time to forget. And time to live a little. And even so, it has been, and continues to be, a epic struggle against a strong internal critic, who picks apart everything to find the weaknesses.

But things are slowly improving. I find it easier these days just to get something down and worry about the quality later. I feel happier about it not being good. I feel more instinctively that writing is all about the process. I feel about my writing pretty much the way I do about my life:- It's ok to make mistakes because who cares? I care a lot less about what other people think than I used to. I am prepared to take more risks because there is only today, and everything else is a promise or a memory.

Today I will write.


green ink said...

I'm the same Claire. I say I have "always" written, and yet I haven't because I've allowed myself to get swallowed up in the comparing myself to others game. I read some amazing books, and I think to myself "how can I even think of calling myself a writer when people are writing tings like THIS, that I can never even come close to"....but lately there's been a little voice telling me to just get on with it. A bad page is worse than an empty page, as they say. I'm doing my own thing, and that's ok. Keep up your motivation and positivity, it's great to read :)

claires inner world said...

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by. I think I have to be prepared to let myself write badly as a beginner, and that's hard when you read some amazing books, like you say. But what you don't see is the first draft of those amazing books....! Maybe we'd feel better if we could?!