Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The highs and the lows

It's a well proven fact that writers or creative artists of any sort are prone to depression and to more extreme highs and lows than the average human being. There are various theories for this but I think author and psychotherapist Philip Kenney sums it up well when he says, "I think Salinger said it took him an hour of writing to be honest with himself. To me that speaks to the resistance and anxiety we so often feel sitting down to write. That is, to delve into the deep unconscious and to bring it forth into the public world is threatening. Yes, it’s frightening. A host of unknown, and known but unwanted, feelings live there."

In other words we are exposing to public scrutiny thoughts and ideas that we may not even have realised we had, and in our insecurity we assume that they won't be good enough, that they'll open us to the mockery of others, including and especially our peers.
Yesterday's confidence that you can write a best-seller is today's certainty that every word you put on paper is a joke, that, even with your two left feet, you have more chance of becoming a successful ballroom dancer than of writing anything that anyone else would ever want to read.

I'm writing this post because I'm in precisely that position now. Having been refreshed and raring to go with my ideas for NaNo after my walk yesterday today I can only see the impossibility of it. Seriously? I think I can do this? I can create characters that people will warm up and a plot that will make them laugh? Who do I think I am?

Everything in me at this very moment is screaming, 'You're rubbish; that's what you are!'
But I will get through this. I know I will. As I said at the start of this post, writers experience more extreme lows - and highs. I'll be back up there.

I should now offer advice on how to break through the misery barrier - but I need to wallow a bit first. I'll go and do something 'more useful' - see how easy it is to slip into the writing is  waste of valuable time lie? The good thing is that I've been here before so I know I will be back up that mountain.

And if I'm still in the plough of despond this evening I will be relying on my fellow Swansea NaNo writers to lift me when we have our inaugural meeting at Swansea Central Library at 7.00 pm.


  1. Oh Liz! I have known you as a WRITER (& good friend) since about 2000, before maybe? The times of GetOutThere. You are a fab conveyor of thought and emotion and humour and fact. And the too many ands is deliberate because even bad writing can get the message across. Be yourself!

    Have a look at WriteThisMoment for markets, inspiration, affirmation and more besides. (not spam!) Get this blog listed too, maybe.
    See? There's a world out there for you and me, Liz. We both deserve to be part of it.

  2. Oh thanks, Shirl! I'll have a look at that.

  3. I notice you have to pay ... hang on, I'll email you about this!