19 January 2018

Read These II

[Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash]

When I was in uni I was surrounded by people who wrote and made things and talked about writing and making things. I read, watched, and listened to anything remotely relevant: news, interviews, authors, blogs, journals, documentaries, fiction, literature, literary theory. My brain was immersed in writerly wordy things.

After I left it just sort of . . . petered out.

I hadn't noticed I'd completely stopped until I re-read Becky Chambers' article (What the Astronaut Said in my previous 'Read These') and felt that sort of thinking spark back to life.

With it I realised the importance of my earlier immersion, that what you stuff into your brain is what's going to come out of it. It was one of those super-obvious-in-hindsight moments.

So I'm going back in. And I'll share the good ones with you, my reader, in more of these posts. Just a couple of things every week or so.

The #amwriting hashtag on Twitter is still good. There's a lot of encouragement and information and understanding - and some interesting articles popping up.

Such as this conversation (on Stormcloud) with Amanda Palmer and Christopher Lydon, about art and creating and things. I wouldn't say I am a real fan (she's predominantly musical and, folks, I am not) but I really admire her, she's imaginative and different and clever and tries things, and inspires me to try things.

This article, 'Word of Mouth, the Small Creator, and the Struggle' by Terminally Nerdy (and it's follow up, 'The Aftermath'), was also on Twitter and fed my thinking in a different way. About what I'm doing to support, or even just interact with, others. The importance of talking, of exchanging feedback, ideas, challenges, encouragement, and tips on how to type with a cat on your keyboard.

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18 January 2018

Thinking Time

[Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash]

At first I was naive. I wrote so much and dreamed so big. It was great fun, if a little, well, naive.

Then I learned about writing (not how to write, never that). I loved that course, I loved the learning - about how writing worked and it's different forms and formats and uses and approaches. It it was so different from English Literature, which I didn't love (or understand). I still regret not sticking around to do a Masters, even though I was a little burned out at the time.

And then there was afterwards.

Which is where the depression kicked in, which I am only now really beginning to come to grips with.

For years I've felt like I didn't have anything to say, didn't have anything worth saying. I felt like if I wasn't a roaring success, I was nothing; if I wasn't perfect, I wasn't good enough. Which is a massive, stupid amount of completely unrealistic pressure to put on anyone.

In the past, whenever I came up against this panic/conflict, I would set writing aside as not practical or reliable or worthwhile. I thought it was selfish - to want to do what I am (hopefully) good at and love doing instead of a regular income so we could pay bills, buy food, etc. But now there is a lull in our lives where all that is fractionally less of an urgency, and I have decided to write. Really, seriously write. Write like it's my job.

My fear that nothing may come of it is currently squished by my joy at finally being able to give this a go.

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14 January 2018

The Panic

[Photo by Jenn Evelyn-Ann on Unsplash]

There has been quite a lot of panic today and I think this is the crux of it: that I am not a writer. Or shouldn't try to be one. Or can't be one. I haven't, after all, written anything in five or six or seven years.

I mean, there were one or two bits. They were bad. They went away.

I was going to get a job, guys, any job (I've cleaned toilets, washed dishes, I don't mind), and write on the side. But somewhere something went wrong. Anxiety. Depression. Insomnia. Panic attacks. I lost a few jobs that way, and each time it was much harder to get back up.

So apart from a little Etsy shop I'm unemployed at the moment, and I don't like it.

But, I panic, what's to stop the next job turning out the same way? All the initial hope and enthusiasm gone (maybe this is the one, maybe this time I'll be okay), just right back here except . . . utterly broken, completely spent, empty.



Etsy is alright but it's slow, because I need money to buy stuff to make into different stuff to sell.

Which brings me back to writing. That's free. I love it. What's stopping me? You know, apart from the very normal crippling fear of not being good enough.

I think feel like I'm not allowed, like I should be doing something better or more important, or more financially reliable, or even just sucking it up as most have no choice but to do. And all the time I'm so worried about what people will think, mainly that they will think I'm a slacker.

So . . . I do nothing?

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