Monday, 5 January 2015

Confronting the demons of past writing

The shelf with all my writing files and other stuff is a mess (again). So this morning while trying to fit a box file in and not succeeding I began looking at what was on the shelf - what I could maybe dispose of.

I came across the file containing the assignments I completed for The Writers Bureau. I began this course way back in 1991 and I was still going in 1996. However, I never completed the course and gave up about half way through. Looking at the file was quite a sad experience. The course dealt with a whole array of writing but the assignments I completed were mainly on reader's letters (I was quite successful with those and even got a few cheques) and articles to magazines, including fillers. I had a few good ideas but I hated fillers and articles were always a struggle. As I flicked through what I had written up I felt much as I did before - that my heart wasn't really in it. I didn't want to write articles for women's magazines like Take a Break and Chat. I didn't feel I had anything in common with them. Whenever I do anything in life (that includes a job) I have to believe in what I am doing and believe in the 'product'.

I never got to the good bit in the course - story writing. Instead I struggled over assignments in non-fiction and the idea of writing a cookery book! The reason it took me so long to get through half the course is because mentally I quit several times and then roused myself for another go. But it was hopeless.

I did actually manage to sell one article some time after I gave up the course! The rest of the articles I wrote now look so dated and to make room on the shelf I'm about to throw the file out.

I'm not sure what to make of it all. The whole things leaves a sadness in me and I'm not sure why. Is it because I gave up and never completed the course? Is it some of negative comments about my ideas? I always felt the course tutor was pushing all the time for me to get stuff out there but apart from the letters I had no confidence and felt way out of my depth with articles and all the rejections didn't help!  I like to think I've moved on and that my writing has improved, that I have found my place in writing through poetry (I actually always wanted to be a lyricist!) and now attempting novels but when I look back on this period of my life it transports me to those days. Obviously the yearn to write has always been there but often I feel I'm banging my head against a brick wall and all those doubts come flooding back.

Okay, I'm having a wallow. Surely, I'm better than this? I have moved on but am I still kidding myself? I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. We all go through these down times. I was doing fine until I picked up this file. So I think the best thing is to ditch the file. I'll keep the workbooks for a while - maybe I should dig out the one on novel writing - but they are probably out of date too now - not in the content as such but technology has moved on a lot since then and most things are done online.

Writing about this helps get it out of my system. Maybe I can now get back to the present because if I wallow too long I might just lose my mojo! And then what will the world have missed?!!

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