I feel like I’ve woken up, and I’m kind of mad at myself. I hadn’t realised I’d fallen asleep. I started this blog because I love to write. It’s my happy place. Yet after a while it became a place of apology, excuses why I wasn’t the writer I thought I should be. Word count flops, failure to publish… a barrage of shame. Rather than dreaming of other realms, the whole writing process had become a bit of a nightmare.
However a chance comment the other day was a wake up call. A bucket of ice water followed by a triple shot of something caffeine laden. A friend of mine was involved in running a writing course and she was bemoaning the excuses my writing peers *coughs* wrap themselves in. This is the gist of what she was saying:
Why are these people wasting our precious time together complaining about why they can’t write, making excuses for their inability to write and talking about what doesn’t work? As writers we have so little time together to collaborate. We should be sharing the things that give us joy, encouraging and inspiring each other, and learning from those who are further ahead and are happy to share their knowledge and experience. Everyone has something to offer that doesn’t involve accolades, or best sellers, or even finished works. Share the pleasure of words on paper, those precious moments where the words match the vision and flow effortlessly, or just rejoice in the success of a colleague.
It struck a nerve. A big raw one. Why had I wasted so much time feeling like a failure? Like a fake at my own writing group, because I hadn’t made progress on my book? When all along I have been writing.
Wait – I have been writing. That great stuff I love to do. The words on paper. Nothing to do with my book, but I’ve journalled a lot, written cards and two plays. The Stand Famous Five and the Mystery of the Disappearing Donkeys, which has been performed at work by both staff and children on several occassions.
And The History of Christmas: An Angelic Perspective, which is a multimedia affair – part pre-filmed and part acted which is being performed at our church Christmas Eve Service. We’ve spent the past few weeks, making costumes, building sets and traipsing around Kapiti filming. It’s been a lot of work, but so much fun watching my vision come to life and seeing the kids having fun. From the footage I’ve seen so far it’s looking great and should be both encouraging and entertaining for everyone watching it. It helps when you have a 16 year old budding film-maker with boundless energy and ideas on board. Collaboration is a wonderful thing!!!
I am a writer. It’s what I do. Letters, articles, speeches (I even did a debate against one of the children at work, which involved me working just as hard as him to craft an argument), and teaching programmes. I am a creative person, and I have no idea what possessed me to box myself into such a narrow view of what a writer should be.
Well no more. I am awake.