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It’s the difference that matters.

Rather depressingly it has become apparent to me that there are a substantial number of people who are women writing competent stories. What worries me is the notion that perhaps we are possibly interchangeable but for one or two quirks of style.

That sucks.

Are we going to spend the rest of our lives submitting our tales hopefully, and sometimes being validated by a publication which will feed our aspirations to be full time writers? It may well never be enough. Why me and not them? What makes my work stand out? I am looking at my words and as far as I can see there’s nothing to get excited about. I am feeling rather upset.

I think that my novel idea is good, exciting, and different. I am also terrified that I can’t pull it off. The necessary length of it intimidates me. I’m not sure that I can sustain a story that long. I need to be braver and at least give it a really good try. I don’t know how to reach into the feelings I have and wrench them out onto the page. So often I feel like an artist who attempts a portrait but comes out with a stick drawing. I know though that when it works, and the words say what I intend them to, that there is no greater sense of fulfilment. So I carry on, word next to word and so on.

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5 responses »

  1. Ah, I know the tune to these Blues. I believe I even wrote a blog post to this effect a few months ago.(http://titaniawrites.blogspot.com/2006/12/bitterness-guilt-and-shame.html) Why do we carry on doing what we do? I got some very supportive comments, seems that everyone feels this way at some time or other. You just have to get through it. Re-read the stuff you’ve written that makes you happy, that you love. That helps me. How would it be if someone told you you were never allowed to write again? Think on that for a while. I know it would make me crazy. That really I am writing for me, and publication is a nice bonus, but I’m just trying to get the sentence right, the story out, for me.I understand about the portrait and the stick drawing. But perhaps what is important is the process of doing it. Word by word is sometimes all we can do. Word by word.

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  2. well, i think worrying about what anyone else is doing is a complete dead end….it upsettles one’s whole equilibrium and leads to all sorts of second guessing yourself that paralyzes the entire creative process….all you can control is your own stuff, and that means doing the best you can possibly do and then trying to get it better still……i’m betting you can sustain a story at length, but paradoxically, i think that comes about through constant editing and refining, so every single second of it is great and excites you when you read it…….i reckon titania is right about ‘word by word…and eventually that will be a whole fab novel..a really big stick drawing!!!…everyone who has ever read anything you’ve written thinks you can do it, i’m sure…i know i do…none better equipped to go for it in fact…..but what anyone else is doing is completely irrelevent…ignore. bust your own moves.ma

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  3. For what it’s worth, I’d say you’ve reached an important point.To be able to stand back and see that actually, yes, many writers, especially women writers sadly, write bland forgettable stuff, is both frightening, valuable, and its a point from which you can either go forward or back.Forward is scary. Back is comfortable.You are lucky. You are standing on the edge of something.But also, (and this is the bit where it’s not so nice…) you run the risk of losing writing friends if you go forward and not back.other women writing friends, who will know that what they are doing isnt what you are reaching for… you will make them feel uncomfortable. I did. I was honest, did exactly what I knew was right for me, and it was threatening for lots of people. I lost friends. But I have no interest in telling people their work is vibrant and great if I dont find it so!!!Stick drawing? A whole NOVEL full? No thanks! If I’ve got you right, you want to write rich, colour, texture. Not grey lines.Lots and lots of good luck. Mind you, I dont think you need the luck. You can write!vanessa

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  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to make your comments. Tania, it is so helpful to know that I’m not alone in this heart sinking bleurgh. As you say tho’, it’s what we do, we write because of our compulsion to do so, and publication is a bonus. Yet it’s also a validation, and I think I’m feeling a bit wobbly. Ma, Thank you for the vote of confidence. You are right when you say that worrying about anyone else is futile. I shall work on busting moves!Vanessa, your words mean a lot to me. Especially the last three! It’s exciting to think that perhaps this is a dark place I need to visit in order to push on through to my potential. Scary also. What if this is all I have?

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  5. HiYou aren’t the first writer to worry that ‘this is all you can do’… or that a success is a mistake… a ‘one-off’.Being honest… I have those feelings every single bloody time I sit down to write. Every time I get a publication, or do OK in a comp.There’s a voice that says”’ “Nah. You’re rubbish. Give it up… you’ll never be as good as you want to be…”It doesnt go away. Its not an easy ride.Writing anything worthwhile is painful, and it hurts. But the upside is, find some mates that are doing the same as you, who understand, and wont bullshit you, and it’s a good feeling… mostly!vanessa

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