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.