A Bit Stuck

October 24, 2017 | 14 Comments

This may not be an interesting blog post to non-creative types, but I’m feeling a bit stuck at the moment. Not in life but in my ‘creative journey’ (without sounding poncy). This doesn’t mean I’m not happy! I love this here life. No, all I’m talking about it is that I know it’s time to do some OTHER sort of writing, beyond writing for other people, and writing on this blog (which don’t get me wrong, I love). Because now that the kids are a bit older, I’ve got a bit more spare time, and I’m looking for my next creative outlet or writing project, but I can’t seem to figure out what that is.

I did about five weeks of the Artist’s Way but then got waylaid due to some other stuff going on, which hopefully I can tell you about soon. And this weekend I did a very interesting poetry course which I can completely recommend if you’re curious about this form of writing but ja, I’m pretty sure poetry writing is not my thing (it’s SO hard and I’m pretty sure I am not clever enough).

Also, thinking about my next creative outlet fills me with a kind of nervous quiver in my belly. Because, while there may be the odd client who wants you to change some work, or the odd troll who says they hate your blog, receiving critical feedback on the creative output I produce currently is quite minimal.

But just write a book, send it out into the world and watch the criticism roll in. Now it’s all very well being criticised on a piece of writing describing an insurance policy, but when people criticise your creative baby, maybe your first novel for example, the hurt must sting for days and weeks and ever after. As a sensitive creative type, this is something I need to prepare myself for, but I also have the fear.

There are all sorts of other fears that enter your brain at this stage. Who wants to hear from irrelevant me? What could a housewife in the ‘burbs honestly have to say to the world that is interesting? What if the only story I have is about losing my mom? What kind of a writer am I? Am I funny? Emotive? How on earth do you write a novel? Which of my ideas should I go with? Historical fiction? A Young Adult story I have in mind? Or one of the various women’s fiction ideas floating around in my head?

Of course, I know that nearly everyone who attempts to write something feels like this at one stage or another (and frequently, throughout their careers). And I know there is the option to simply give up on this idea, and enjoy my life and fill it with other pursuits. But then it will always be nagging at the back of my brain: what COULD I have done, if I’d only been braver?

Also, and this may be a hugely unpopular thing to discuss with true “artists”, but having worked a long time in book publishing, I’m well aware that writing anything (even if it’s pretty good) is not going to ever really financially compensate you adequately for all of the hours you put in. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, not at all, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind.

So unless you’re JK Rowling, you’re more doing this creative thing because you want to share your message or story, maybe get a kick out of “being published” and make an impact on the few people that read it. Plus, I’m under no illusion that once you secure a publisher you can ride off into the sunset. No, that’s when the real work starts, from promoting yourself relentlessly, to attending events, to going to book signings where only 2 people pitch up (both relatives). An author’s life is an arduous one, and not nearly as glamourous or exciting as many people may think.

I guess I’m rambling like this in a kind of plea to the universe, because if you don’t ask, you don’t get. But I also know that you can’t sit back on your chair and wait to be hit by a bolt of creative lightening, because you have to DO THE WORK. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, what kind of thing would YOU like to read from me? If you’re still here after all these years, that clearly means there is something small that you like returning to, so what can you picture me writing next? I’d love to hear your thoughts.








  • Reply Melissa Volker October 24, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Ah Belinda. You have the emotive and technical writing skills. You only need to put the words on a page and they will be amazing. Write a story for you. Write the story you want to read. Then it’s never a waste even if only you read it and enjoy it. (which won’t happen. everyone will LOVE it) Two of the most helpful steps I took in my writing journey were to do Claire Strombeck and Mike Nicol’s master class (I think Qarnita Loxton did that too) and have a fierce go at NaNoWriMo, just to get words on the page. Can’t wait to see your journey unfold.

    • Reply Belinda Mountain October 24, 2017 at 9:34 am

      THANK YOU. Have been feeling all teary for days now, and a bit helpless (and just sort of wallowing in it). I really appreciate the support and advice! Writing those two courses of action in my diary now to pursue…

  • Reply Bronwyn October 24, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Hey Belinda. Great post (and I bet it beat writing insurance copy, right? 🙂 ) As a longtime freelance journalist and newbie blogger, I hear you. I have been having those momentary creative peaks and troughs all year, and most days sit staring off at our hazy Cape mountains wondering what the purpose of all this really is. I put most of that down though to having just come off the back of a 2-year slog of self-publishing my first MG/YA novel. Was it all that I had hoped it would be? No. Have I earned any royalties from it? I think my Amazon account has 10 dollars in it! Was it worth it? Yes. It’s creatively fulfilling in a completely different way, and something I think every writer should do at least once in their life. It’s been tough, and the haters…well, you know how that goes. There’s a whole new world out there when you get into self-publishing, and it’s very exciting (albeit a tad daunting in the beginning) and a great opportunity to learn again. Because as writers we fall into horrible comfort zones, and writing a book really shakes things up. I say, go for it! Put that pen to paper. Write it, love it and then put it out there, knowing that it doesn’t matter who likes it and who doesn’t, but rather that you grew from the experience as a writer (and hopefully made a few good dollars along the way too!) Best of luck!

    • Reply Belinda Mountain October 24, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      You’re so right Bronwyn – I’m totally in my comfort zone! I’m writing what I’m pretty decent at doing now, which is why I know deep down that I need a shake up! I do need that creative fulfillment, so thanks for the encouragement (and I’m off to check out your blog!).

  • Reply Kirsten October 24, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I love reading your blog so if you wrote a book would definitely read it. You write so well, just go for it.

  • Reply Caley October 24, 2017 at 11:36 am

    You are MADE for this gorgeous friend – and I would read ANYTHING that you write!
    Don’t understand writing for a mom in the ‘burbs – look at Gail and The Park? Such an amazing read!
    YOU CAN DO IT! x

  • Reply Dee October 24, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Courage is he birth place of creativity.

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly

    Do it. Write the book.

  • Reply Bev Jardine October 24, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Hey Belinda, I am a newbie in the creative world so I don’t have too much to add, but I thought you might enjoy listening to a podcast I heard a little while back. It was so inspiring to hear this girls journey of how she wrote her book (a culinary/recipe type book) and I just took so much from it .. even as a non-writer. I LOVED the sound of her book and thought you might too (especially since you’re also a foodie) .. although it’s a completely different genre to the one you discuss above. But it’s a different perspective and if anything, you might just enjoy the listen (the podcast channel is fab and the 2 ladies who host it are brilliant 🙂


    • Reply Belinda Mountain October 24, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Oooh Bev this sounds fabulous! Definitely going to check it out..thank you.

  • Reply Andrea Wright October 29, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Belinda, I know it’s not as creative as a blog or writing a book… but what about a kids book? As in one for toddlers… as a Mum I read my kids a book every night and I think it would be very satisfying for a Mum to be able to write a story (or three) that my kids would love. Just a thought P.s love your blog xxx

    • Reply Belinda Mountain October 29, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks Ands! I will certainly think about that idea:)

    Let me know what you think!