Thursday, 18 October 2012

Well hello....and goodbye

I may post here a little more frequently than of late (famous optimistic words, don't take them too seriously will you) because I've freed up some time.  Some 'Me' time.  Some 'head time', some space.  If you've popped over to the Strictly Writing  blog today you'll already have read my Farewell to the 560 followers that we are incredibly proud to have amassed over the years; I am moving on.

Not 'on' to anywhere specifically but just 'away' from some ties that are doing me no mental/physical/emotional good whatsoever apart from keeping the Paracetamol industry in business.
I think... I hope that this move is a Good Move.

You see, I never set out to become the woman who sits before you today (actually it's a good job you CAN'T see me right now in jogger bottoms, tea-stained vest,  fluffy slippers and Bags For Life under the Tired For Ever eyes since returning from the physically shattering paid job.) I never expected that by the time I reached 'this' age I'd still be working, much less still wondering what I was going to be when I grew up.  I am stuck at Fifteen and I'm still convinced Donny Osmond will eventually notice me lurking in the field he's singing Puppy Love to me in.  What?

Writing has always made me happy.  I loved and still do love, the way I can paint a scene, create a life, a story with these funny little plastic keys at the tips of my fingers and since there's been a backspace/ delete/undo button, my life's pretty much complete.  But lately writing has been making me far from happy.  Not miserable as such.  Okay then miserable.  Not through any fault of the letters or the words; but through the extraneous constraints that I have allowed to become attached to my creative world.

Writing a whole book wasn't ever something I thought I'd do, much less follow up with 4 others and then plunge myself into the writing-to-be-published pond.  It's not a place (this metaphorical 'publishing pond') I ever felt comfortable being in and lately I've felt  immersed in a bad, soaking-to-my-soul kind of way about the whole thing.

This Blogging malarkay is also not something I thought I'd ever be doing.  I'm not a great social butterfly and so social media wasn't ever intended for somebody like me; I'm too easily bruised by offhand remarks and comments that don't intend to hurt but still find a way of getting under my very delicate skin.  I don't want to say that I was coerced into doing it but there were so many bright young things out 'there' that WERE blogging and making it look so easy and such fun, that I didn't want to be left out.  And I thought it  might increase my writing profile.  Whatever that's supposed to mean.

I  was thrilled when I was asked if I'd like to join the panel of Writers on Strictly Writing.  I felt like I'd been 'spotted', 'discovered', 'found'.  But 2 years on I'm still struggling to find something uplifting and enthusiastic to say about writing in general and MY writing more specifically and I realise it wasn't quite the Grail I thought it was. Hence my farewell post today.

Facebook and Twitter are other things that can thoroughly depress me, and I don't think it'll be  long before I back away from those completely too.  Twitter I've never enjoyed to be honest as it gives me the 'playground' heebie-jeebies and I never feel I have anything productive to contribute; I worry I'll be ignored if I just turn up and let loose a random 40 word comment.

On Facebook I have surrounded myself with people ('friends' if you like) who are writers.  This also depresses me.  By watching their successes, my own non-success becomes way more noticeable and it actually properly hurts like a stab in the heart every time I read of one. This is not good for me.

The writing group that I joined at the beginning of the year is also not really for me, I've come to realise.  And I've given it a proper, decent go, I really have.  It's not merely because one of my fellow members (of which we are 3) has already been signed by a huge Agent and is having her amazing (no, it really IS) book touted round all the major publishers as we speak, nor that the other member is so clever with his words and has such a beautiful story-telling mind that it makes me feel like an amoeba in comparison, but..... okay then this IS why it's not for me.  I feel like Big Bird in the company of Peacocks and Swans; lumpy, cumbersome and a little bit laughable.

I wonder if I'll ever find my niche.  I remember my Tutor from the London School of Writing (yes, I started that aged 18 and didn't get beyond Lesson 9 I think - I even borrowed £300 for it which  was a MASSIVE committment at that age) telling me that I'd have to tailor my writing to fit a suitable market.  But I didn't want to.  I suppose even then I knew that I didn't want to write for anybody else, didn't want to be governed by constraints and I suppose if I'd remembered that a little earlier, then I wouldn't have spent the past 10 years beating  myself up about nobody wanting to publish my books.  They're unmarketable.  Years ago I'd have taken that as an insult.  Now I'm not so sure.

Here, have a Jazz-Hands Kitten.


Lane Mathias said...

Kudos to you Debs for stepping back and giving yourself some space.
At the risk of sounding all Pollyanna-ish, look at all the books you've written, agent or not. That takes talent, graft and determination. And I'm willing to bet Good Things will happen now you've taken the pressure off yourself.
In fact I'm willing to bet Jazz Hands Kitteh on it:)

Deb said...

Unfortunately Debs, these days if you want to become a published writer, you have to write what the publishers say will sell, but they're not always right. I think you're doing the right thing for you and as Lane said, the moment you take the pressure off, the more enjoyable it will become again.

Debs Riccio said...

Lane, bless you thanks, the relief of letting it go is palpable - altogether now OOOooooofffffffff!
Debs, I know, I've had enough pandering to 'trends' and markets and doing what others think I should be doing to get published. It's enjoying the writing that's the best part; publishing be damned :)

Anita Davison said...

Hi Debs - I subscribe to the Strictly Writing blog, and your link brought me here. I know most authors identify with your current frame of mind at some time in their writing lives. Self doubt and insecurity is our stock in trade and most of us want to sit in our dark corners and write - not yell 'read me' on FB and stick our 'babies' under everyone's nose and risk them being called ugly!
We have all been there, truly, and some are stil there - but so-called success or not, you are a writer and that's you. Don't fight it, wallow and enjoy it for what it is. Your blog is insightful and entertainng, so your books must be!


Debs Riccio said...

Oh Anita what a lovely thing to say. Now I want 'insightful and entertaining' to be the by-line on my books! :)