6 Jan 2011

Facing your fears and all that crap

So, let's just get right down to the point of this blog. I originally started it, way back when in 2009, as a way of encouraging myself to just please, do a little bit of writing, in the hope that I might eventually write an actual book.It would be good to keep the people off my back who have, since I was about 15, been asking me when I was going to write a book. To which my answer was always "Okay just because I love reading, does not make me a) able to write a whole book or b) even good at writing." as this paragraph neatly demonstrates.

However I figured, what if I wrote a book with the proviso that NO ONE EVER SAW IT. Cunning plan huh, write a book, stick it a desk drawer, mission accomplished. Who cares about whether it's readable or whether, if I kept going, my next book might be readable. 

Note - being readable is not the same as being published.......(cf vanity publishing)

So here we are a couple of years later, with a few blog posts under my belt, some lovely people who actually read this blog AND a nearly finished Nanowrimo novel. Hmph, well what about that then. I still can hardly believe it myself but the evidence is on my hard drive - 50k words of a VERY UNEDITED and PROBABLY CRAP  and DEFINITELY NOT commercially viable novel.

In fact that sentence holds the key to what holds me back as a writer - the words `commercially viable`. I think they probably make any author's heart sink to be honest and, having spent 5 years working for a major bookstore and then two of the biggest book publishers in this country, they make my heart sink too. 

My book is based on an idea that I love - and has characters that I love and who do unpredictable, crazy-ass things that were not in my book plan - but whether it'll fit neatly into the supermarkets top 50 is a WHOLE OTHER QUESTION. And not really one with a positive answer, I think. But I still keep on writing it under the premise that NO ONE WILL EVER SEE IT. 

Um, small confession; I have shown some snippets to some friends. I think this was easily the most terrifying thing I've ever done - more so than rock climbing. I have learnt that I am QUEEN OF ADVERBS (sorry is the capitalization annoying you...) and maybe I should cut some/all/99% of them.

But showing it to people made me think about whether, as  writer, am I really challenging myself and being the best writer I can be, if I am not putting my work out there for criticism and feedback? How am I going to develop myself and my style without this and also, by facing my fear and eek, showing my writing to people, isn't this helping me grow a little as a person too - to have a teeny tiny bit of self belief?

So in the name of sharing below is a small excerpt from a project I started (and stalled) working on early last year. I never plan to do anything with this, hence putting it on here. It is COMPLETELY unedited - there may be heinous typos but I make no apologies, this is my writing, warts and all, in public for the first time.

PS The inspiration for this post came from 2 other supercool bloggers: Julie C Gardner and Graffiti Living 'Please Don't Read My....'

Except From StupidGirl's Untitled Project - Feb 2010

“Our time together is running out.” My voice in the silent room makes her jump, “try to work with me on this, it can only help.” Every session to date has been the same. The flickering lights, the chewing of the lip, the sullen stare. No amount of pleading, logical reasoning or brutal imagery has caused her to speak. Shocking events can cause involuntary muteness. But I do not feel this to be the case with her. She is deliberately holding back and, at times, I feel as if she is waiting for me to say the correct word or sentence and suddenly her long held silence will be unlocked.
I gather my papers and the clippings together. It is almost the end of the appointment and I can see that, yet again, we are going to get nowhere today. I could simply copy and paste my notes each session; such is the lack of change each time.  And then something happens that makes this one session different.
Looking back, it seems almost funny that something so simple could trigger such events. But isn’t that always the case – butterflies wings and thunderstorms as they say.  I bent down to grab my brown leather satchel and as I did so, some trick of the wind outside caused the crows flying past to caw and rasp loudly. My patient speaks “One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy,” she intones solemnly, her voice raspy and low from lack of use.  At this point, after hitting my head on the desk in shock at hearing her voice, I am sat bolt upright, scrabbling for the digital recorder.
“Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.”


  1. Nanowrimo was FAR to scary for me to attempt so I really admire you for doing it. And as you say, it's done. You're a writer!

    Love the excerpt, really makes me want to read more. If you ever want to share some I'd be happy to read your manuscript

  2. Wow thanks for your lovely words :-)
    The except above is not from my Nano book, its from a thriller that I started last year and wrote about 5k words of and then gave up on because I thought it was crap. I may well continue.

    My nano project is a dystopian love story which I also need to finish.

    Would definitely be great to have you read some, so when I've actually edited a bit (as per Nano it's currently completely unedited, and a little stream of consciousness in parts) then maybe I'll send you some. Or we could even meet up given our locales! But thats a whole other story :-)