Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Aspiring Authoress

After twelve mostly random blog posts, I figured it was about time I actually wrote about the thing that got me blogging in the first place. I've been putting it off (in true procrastinator fashion), telling myself that I needed to get used to blogging before I tackled anything serious. The problem is, the reason I started this blog was to try and focus myself on writing regularly again, so avoiding the issue makes this blog a bit pointless.

I love to write. Now this is all well and good, considering my aim is to get a book published one of these days. Trouble is, as soon as I set myself a goal, my love of writing suddenly gets buried beneath a mountain of self-doubt. I use every reason there is - real and imagined - to justify why I haven't written anything for a while, when a lot of it boils down to lack of confidence. When I am on form, I can write good stuff. That's in no way meant to sound like I'm big-headed, it's a statement of fact. The things I have written really well have had enough positive feedback to tell me that when I put my mind to it, I can be very good. The problem with this is that I have backed myself into a corner.

The really good stuff that I have written all have one thing in common - I had that lovely 'buzzing' feeling when I wrote them. Not to mention the fact that they were written almost by themselves, the words flowing from my fingers as if I were possessed by the Writing Demon. In fact, that's when I know I'm on form, when the words don't need coaxing from my brain and the page fills up almost before I have chance to think about it. Don't get me wrong, I can produce good stuff without that buzz, but it can take days - or even weeks -and it's almost painful to do it. I become frustrated more often than not and end up deleting the whole thing (really not good when you are trying to write a novel). It's got to the point that if I don't get that all-important buzz when I write something, I dismiss it as trash. As this happens pretty regularly, the amount of writing I have produced over the last eighteen months has been pitifully small.

But I'm not ready to give up. Five years ago, writing a book was only a vague dream, but now it's a goal. Five years ago I had no writing experience, but now I've had a taste of it. Like many aspiring authors, I started with fan fiction. One day I literally stumbled onto a fanfic forum and became immersed in all of the stories that were on offer. A few months later, I decided to have a go myself. Prior to this, I'd never even heard of fan fiction, so to become a fanfic author was unexpected to say the least. But I did it, and much to my surprise people seemed to enjoy it too. Looking back at my first effort, it's hard to see how anyone would have enjoyed it, the structure of the story was appalling, likewise the spelling and grammar. But I steadily built up a small fan base, and over the years I have improved no end, and made a ton of friends in the process.

No matter what anyone says about fanfic, and I know a lot of people pooh-pooh it, I'll always be incredibly grateful to it. When I first started writing, I could maybe write a few hundred words several times a week. This year (in a rare bout of inspiration) I managed to write a 15,000 word story in under three days. That's an achievement, and something I would never have been able to do a few years ago. Not to mention that I've made several wonderful friends, too. In fact, one of them has gone from writing fanfic to having a book finished and awaiting an agent, with book one of a trilogy waiting in the wings too (Tami, you're my hero).

So, to get back to what I was originally saying, I'm blogging to get myself into a routine. A major reason for my lack of confidence is the fact that I go so long without writing anything. It's become a vicious circle - I try to write, but I'm so rusty I work myself up into a dither about how crappy it is, so I leave it. But because I leave it, I go longer without writing, and the longer I leave it, the more rusty I feel, and the more crappy it looks when I muster up the gumption to actually write something.

I think it might be working though, this blogging thing. I was so busy yesterday that I couldn't get any access to the PC, but do you know what? I actually couldn't go to bed last night. I was shattered, and my eyes were drooping, but I felt so guilty that I hadn't posted a new blog that I couldn't make my feet go up the stairs. That's got to be progress, right? It may not be a novel, but by blogging every day I am exercising my brain (even with the silly stuff), and getting myself used to writing again. I have a novel trying to get out of me, and if blogging helps me to get it done, then blogging is what I'll do.

As my hero is always saying, baby steps....


  1. I am so glad you're saying this, Tara - partly because I feel the same way (about my own writing), and partly because I am SOOO happy to hear you are plotting to get back to your own writing again. (Were you listening in to Tami's and my conversation down at the micro brewery last night? We were discussing exactly this, and we both agreed that we really hoped you would start writing again because we're uber-intrigued to see where it's going)
    I do think that the once a day blogging thing really can be the start of that habit forming, and I'm glad to hear you seem to be getting addicted ;)

    (The American keyboard at Tami's isn't all that different from my Norwegian one, apart from the extra letters, but I don't use them when writing English anyway, BUT all the non-letters are placed in different spots so my smileys stand in risk of looking like this <) or this >_ ... Booooo!)

  2. Yes! Congraulations on the relocation of your writerly mojo.

    I say: NEVER delete anything. Ever. Bad bad idea. Imagine Mozart writing a sonata and then tossing it in the kitty litter. No no no no to deleting!

    The blogging community is a great place to share work too, and to help sharpen them chops.

  3. Mari - I wondered why my ears were burning.*snorts* Seriously though, thanks for the encouragement!

    M.J. - You're probably right about the deleting thing. I guess I should try and form a new habit. And you're DEFINITELY right about the blogging community. I'm still new to it, but it feels very comfortable. Thank you for following too. You're the first person who I didn't already know that started following this. I meant to tell you that the other day, but one of the worst things about being a procrastinator is that they are forgetful and easily distracted...

  4. I wish I had the "forgetful" bit down pat. Problem is, I remember everything I have to do then hide from it.

    It's been very hard finding good Blog Buddies - actual human beings, rather than faceless posters - so it's a pleasure to poke around in your blog area.

  5. There are actual human beings out there? *wide eyes*