Scary Stuff

I have just sent out 2,000 words of my novel for my classmates to read.  In some ways, it is scarier than handing in an essay, even a dissertation.  When you do creative writing, you are really putting yourself out there.  Your sense of humour, your ways with words, your ability to convey what you need to the reader, your sentence structure… all of these come under fire.  It’s not that I’m scared of people being harsh- if they weren’t, how would I learn?  It’s more the thought of people just not getting it, which would make me worry that there’s nothing there to “get”.  Once I wrote a story based very much on an experience I had had, and a tutor told me that one part of it “just wasn’t believable.”  That moment in the story, was the crucial moment of the real-life experience, the whole point on which the plot turned.  It’s weird to be told that your own life just isn’t believable…

Some of this current novel is based (loosely) on my own experiences.  It’s based on my experiences in my drinking days and it’s hard to put myself back in the place where I was when I wrote it, to keep up the momentum. By “hard” I don’t mean that it’s triggering or anything like that, just that it’s difficult to remember exactly what those spaces were like.  It only takes a little while to forget things.  That’s why I try to keep a record of everything as it happens at the time.  Maybe I can find an old diary or something and get back into myself that way.

I think all writing is difficult to go back to, whether or not it’s based on personal experience.  You write from a particular place, space and time and it is hard to get yourself back into that position months, weeks, even days down the line.  We talked in class about what qualities we feel we have that will make us writers.  Mine, I think, is empathy.  Now I am finding it difficult to empathise with myself, which is making it difficult to write.  Funny, that.

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