On Being Earnest

Thursday, 23 March 2017

When I was a teenager I had to answer the following question in front of everyone:

'What do you want to be when you leave school?'

And, my answer was this:

'Erm ... a writer.'

Someone sitting next to me said 'What, that's it? That's a bit boring, isn't it?'

'Mmmmbllbmbll.' I said. (I know. I'll give you a moment to cringe.)

Anyway, reality soon hit when I left college and realised a collection of incomplete story ideas on a Word document were not, in fact, enough to pay for our upcoming wedding (or, you know, enough for rent and food and Grown Up Things). Over the years I have occasionally considered actually going for it. Then I would do the research, and come to the conclusion that writing was a scary job for people who could handle all kinds of harsh criticism. I was as soft as a slush puppy, and would melt into nothingness if people were mean to me.

So I didn't ever do it.

In fact I stopped writing altogether for a couple of years. No journals, no nothing. Nothing, after a lifetime of always writing, right up to the stack of journals during my awkward pre-teen years (of which I tore out the pages and literally burned in my back garden in a moment of teenage drama). And I went from job to job to job without really settling on anything I liked, until I got into childcare, which I actually enjoyed. Then at some point, in a moment of deep stress, I began to write this blog.

Since then I haven't stopped. I write all the time. About 90% of it is no good, but for my mental health? It's amazing. Writing is like a brain massage to me. If I'm stressed, I write it down. It's like I'm smoothing out all the knots and tense places. I'm addicted to the point that I get a bit anxious and stressy if I can't find time to do it.

Twice now I've participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, more to see if I could do it than anything else. To my immense satisfaction I wrote a first draft of a novel last July, just over 50,000 words.

I even got to write 'the end'. For the first time ever.

And then people asked me about it. Suddenly I had to tell people about the story that I had grown from my own brain.

Honestly, I wasn't prepared for people actually asking me what I wrote. It turns out I frustrate people because I won't give details: I can't bring myself to tell people the genre or my main characters' name or anything. Why won't I give details?

Because part of me finds it cripplingly, painfully embarrassing that I put my all into something creative that might not be very good.

There you go. I said it. I'm a 'keep it light' person. I make breezy jokes at inappropriate times. To admit that I wanted to do something really, really badly and then did it is one thing: to have people actually know about the thing is another.

But you know what? That's crap. That is a rubbish part of myself that I don't like. Here's a life hint: don't be like me. Be earnest. The world is much better for people who whole-heartedly pour themselves into creative things and then share those things with the world.

In the meantime maybe I'll learn to let my guard down a bit more.

After I've finished the second draft. Obviously. I'm only willing to go so far.

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  1. I know exactly how you feel! Every time I try to get writing I find myself inexplicably embarassed. Writing really is therapeutic, isn't it? xx #coolmumclub

    1. Glad it's not just me! When people I know in real life say 'oh, I read your blog' I start blushing, haha. Oh to be confident! x

  2. I hear you - I still get really embarrassed about my blog and never really believe it's anything more than a load of old waffle! I never ask people in the real world if they've read it and I find my cheeks burning if I have to talk writing in the real world too...
    I'm in awe of your writing! That's incredible...you have done the hard bit, now you just have to find that confidence within you!
    Good luck -and thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

    1. Thank you so much! :) I started editing the novel before the baby was born but it's been put on the back burner. I was quite enjoying going through and being totally ruthless with it.

      I'm the same - I blush really easily especially when I talk about something so personal to me. Drives me crazy! x

  3. I like reading your posts Meg. You have such a unique voice. I do know how you feel. The first time I shared my poetry ... SO MUCH ANXIETY! I felt like I was baring my all hahaha x

    1. <3 thank you lovely! I can imagine - I'd be anxious too! The funny thing is I've written quite personal stuff on here, but fiction is a whole other level! So worth being bold though xx

  4. Oh I'm totally with you on the brain massage thing - that is exactly how I describe it . Thanks for linking to #sharewithme

  5. I love writing so much more than I ever thought I would - I call it word vomitting (not the nicest of phrases... a brain massage is much nicer) and I always feel so much better!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  6. Remembering myself as a child, I can say that I had such dreams. But they did not come true, because my parents wanted me to become an engineer. But you know they were right, because even ordinary writings I order from writers, look at this site and you will understand why.


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