Redemption

So, it seems I’m a terrible blogger. No post for over a year – abysmal. But here I am, just checking in. Trying to redeem myself.

It’s a funny thing about redemption – that seems to be the theme of so many of my stories. I’m attracted to the idea that no matter what mistakes we make, despite how we mess up and do the wrong thing as we muddle through life, there is always the potential for change. There is always hope, no matter how small.

This applies to writing as well as people, I think. I wrote a really bad story last year (so bad it frightened me. I’m not being dramatic, it actually terrified me how bad it was. I had trouble continuing to write). But because I am finally learning that to create a good story, you must write a whole lot of awfulness (or middling-ness, at best), then revise, edit, change, fix … because I am finally realising that only weird genius writers actually write stuff fully-formed, I let it rest. I let the smelly, messy, bulging bag of manure just sit there in the corner. I pretended I didn’t even know it was mine, and I wrote some other bits and pieces to console myself. Finally, I opened the bag of excrement that was my story, and kind of gently poked around (with gloves on, of course), and found something in there that wasn’t poo! It smelt a bit and took me awhile to separate from the poo, but it wasn’t actual poo. Let’s just say it was grass, or a stick. Not a diamond that’s for sure.

Anyway I took that tiny section, and stretched it out; I cleaned it and brushed it, and lo! it is not too bad. I’m not saying it’s going to win any accolades, but it’s got some redeeming features. I like it.

So to any other newbie writers out there – I say don’t be afraid of the poo. Keep all your dodgy, smelly stories, and come back to them. There will be something good there, no matter how small.

And now I must go. There’s another sack waiting to be opened.

What I Have Learnt From Quitting my Sensible Job and Writing Made-Up Stories All Year

1) Change is terrifying

2) Change is good

3) To become better as a writer it’s important to read plenty of good writing and to write a lot.

4) It’s not hard to read but writing is hard. Suck it up, do it anyway.

5) Some jobs (like my previous job) give you status, ego stroking and a daily sense of making a difference. Writing isn’t like that.

6) Learning something new (writing and surgical assisting in my case) when you’re not a young thing is bruising. You feel five years old again. People treat you like the imbecile that you seem to be. Suck it up, do it anyway. (My nurse friend told me “Now you know how I get treated every day”. Gulp.)

7) Supportive family and friends are an absolute blessing.

8) I’m braver than I thought.

9) Persistence really does pay. I’m getting a story published (in The Suburban Review) this month, and I’m so happy, and grateful for the opportunity. I honestly didn’t believe I’d be published by now. So I guess sending stuff off, even when you feel terrified at the thought of others reading your imperfect work, is the only way to get your work read.

10) I love making up stories.

A neglected garden

I haven’t taken to blogging a second time around (obviously). Last time I blogged, which was from 2005-2010, I had an anonymous blog. That was incredibly freeing. I wrote whatever I wanted about anything I wanted. I used nicknames only, never posted photos showing faces, and I was honest and open, without fear of ‘the wrong person’ reading my words (whoever that might be. At the time, mainly people who might roll their eyes and say she is SUCH a drama queen – or something equally unkind/true).

Blogging under my own name is not so much fun. I feel really self-conscious and stilted. So I’ve been working away, doing a ton of writing, but none of it here. Very unsociable I know. This blog has wilted and become overgrown with weeds.

I’m happy to accept that blogging as a writer isn’t going to be my thing, but I’ll leave this blog up as a way for anyone to get in contact, should the need arise. And I’ll go take a wander around the many thriving gardens.

Countdown

It’s all happening. In less than two weeks, I will walk away from my life as a clinician. Instead I’ll be doing some part-time work in a more simple medical job that will keep some income coming in, but that won’t occupy my mind all hours of the night and day.

I’m terrified and excited, both at once. I have no idea how the whole writing world works, and I have a steep learning curve ahead of me. I’m reading and writing as much as I can. I hope to do some study in creative writing down the track. I’d be grateful for any words of wisdom from other writers! What are your top tips for a writer starting out?

Getting out of my own way

Hello, and welcome!

This isn’t my first blog, but it’s my first blog as a writer trying to get serious about the whole business of writing – which is what this post is about. If you’re a writer, too (and let’s face it, most bloggers either are writers, or should be writers!), maybe you can relate.

I think I’m getting too serious here. Overthinking the entire process until all I can think to write about is – well, nothing really. Because when I do consider an idea, a sneery voice winds down my ear canal and echoes in my head, “Bor-ring!”. I’m finished before I begin.

When I first started writing bits and pieces, squeezed in around the rest of my life, I never stopped to consider if my stories were good or not. I just tapped them out. They were pretty bad in general, but they had some kernels of good in them, and I loved the feeling of expressing myself. Slowly I began to learn about writing, took some classes, learnt to edit. I realised I had some ability, and began to believe in myself. So I’ve cleared space in my life for writing, with a big shake-up of my work hours, and I’m ready to give writing my all. Yet here I sit, staring at the cursor, fighting a rising sense of panic that I’ll never write another short story.

A friend gave me a book of Buddhist quotes, and one attributed to Buddha reads ‘The mind is everything. What we think, we become.’ I understand how powerful our thoughts can be, and I know that to work well, to succeed, to achieve anything in life, the right mindset is essential. I need to calm down, remember the joy of writing just for the story. I need to get out of my own way.

So, here I go …