♣ So anyway, apart from having a revelation about my own body acceptance courtesy of Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby, I’ve also been doing a lot of writing in my writer’s notebook and reading ‘Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within’ by Natalie Goldberg. This book is also a revelation and has also been hitting the spot in regards to how I feel about writing and being a writer. Recently I have come to realise that anyone can call themselves a writer, if that is what they feel their calling in life is.
It isn’t about fame and money, it’s a compulsion, something you feel you need to do and which becomes a kind of daily routine that you can’t extricate yourself from. Something that Goldberg talks about in her book is that writers feel that when they’re not writing, they feel they should be writing. That is exactly how I feel. No matter what I’m doing, ther is a kind of irresistable urge tugging at my fingers, or a monologue in my head about how much writing I’ve done today and whether I should have written this or that.
The whole thing about writing is that you literally do experience things twice. Once when you’re actually experiencing it, then twice when you savour the details, write down things about the experience that didn’t occur to you at the time. You have a drawn out experience. If you feel that your life is boring and there’s nothing to write about, then being a writer isn’t necessarily for you. You need to be able to see the smallest, mundane details in technicolour; you learn to see them as interesting and different because nobody experiences everything exactly the same. That is the beauty of human experience. You live things and experience them and then they come out at the end differently for everyone.
I can’t say that being ambitious is a bad thing though. Sure, one day you want to be published. I just feel that it shouldn’t be the driving force behind your writing though. Writing should be the driving force behind your writing. A story, an experience, a feeling you want to share with the world. Writers need to feel that their experiences are worthwhile sharing with the world because each of us has a story or two to tell.
Sometimes you get big ideas that you want to use as a basis for a novel or a story or poem. Yet you feel that it becomes a bit of a noose around your neck because you can’t translate that idea into a story. Writing shouldn’t be forced. Maybe it’s not the right idea to use and you should focus on other things for a bit whilst that idea germinates and is ruminated over in your subconscious.
I’ve been writing a novel for a while. It’s been on the backburner but I haven’t abandoned it because I feel that that character has a gripping story to tell. It might take a while to get it all out but I’m sure it will right itself eventually. I don’t feel that you should just focus on one writing project, because the daily notebook writing, the blogging, the reading and reviewing should all sort of inspire and overlap each other. You might find that some part of your writing really builds on the novel idea, for example. I started writing my novel in a sort of stupor, where I just pounded out the first chapter not knowing where I was going or what the character wanted to say. Yet right now I am trying to think of a sort of linear plot, otherwise it might collapse into a sort of muddy mess.
Nevertheless, I’m a reborn writer (having been one when I was a kid and teen), so it’s taking time to work out my method of writing and working. Sometimes I go full steam ahead in the middle of the night and type away or scribble away feverishly. Then there’s times in the afternoon where I feel sort of compelled to sit down and write. Although during the day seems a bit too concerned with the everyday things that get in the way, like the pile of laundry or feeding the cats or emails to answer. The dead of night is when I feel most at peace and when things come out that I didn’t know I was thinking about.
Another bizarre thing happened this afternoon – my sister found a white hair on my head. Which says a lot about my state of mind recently, I think! It runs in the family – she gets small greys when she’s stressed or worried. The solution is to not be worried, obviously. I guess the money situation is shit right now, but I’m trying to stay afloat and willing myself to hold on until I get money at the beginning of next month.
It’s my Mum’s birthday next week, and I think I might have to make her stuff rather than buying anything. I’m sure she won’t mind getting some lovely jewellery or a lovely collage or something. I can always buy her something when I get paid next month. Besides, it is my own fault for having store cards to pay for and not being more frugal or organised. I spend quite a bit of money on books that could be saved up and used to buy Xmas or Birthday presents for people. I still think books are worthwhile though – at least I’m not buying shoes and clothes and stuff! ♣