I read a wonderful post on blocks to creativity just this week, which I subsequently posted to my Facebook page. Should you go there to read it, why not LIKE my page while you’re there? I promise to only appear in your news feed once a day and never try to sell you any books in a way that you’ll be able to notice. Okay? Lovely.
As I was saying about the creative blocks/being easily distracted/procrastination thing… After reading this marvelous post I began thinking about how I put off trying to be a writer for so many years and that yes, the reason is I have been a victim. I don’t mean someone fuffed me in the pie-hole with a duster and ran off with my copy of Woman & Home Magazine in some facepolish-and-grab incident. I mean I have been a victim of that old murderer of creativity – perfection.
I’m going to be honest here. I have stopped mid sentence in new books by other authors and skipped to the ending wondering where all this nonsense was leading, only to find I couldn’t care less if Sissy Burans grew up hating the fact that her name is an anagram of Sainsbury’s but it all ends well because she meets the man of her dreams there in the cheese and cream aisle. I’ve thrown books down in disgust and thought how much better I could do. I’ve done it for years and years. And yes, I’ve followed these thoughts up by actually putting pencil to paper and spilling my brains on the page, only to find the prose I told myself would be fine wine was just plain old juice. And not even nice juice. It was sour, cranberry juice – the stuff that nobody drinks unless they have a bladder infection. Apt because I had that burning desire to write and then, after having read my first few paragraphs of cranberry juice-esque ramblings, the burning was gone.
I’ve started writing what in my head was Jayne Eyre and ended up with Jane Eerie. I wanted to call my current novel about a woman who marries a porn addict, ‘The Secret Life of B’s’. I’ve written clangers worthy of a whole episode of ‘It’ll Be Alright on the Rewrite’. (That, by the way, should be a writer’s Twitter hashtag). Corkers like: ‘His contorted mouth said nothing, but his eyes begged me to get him and his erection out of here now’. Oh yes, this line IS on my cutting room floor. I’m so ashamed… and yet comedically proud at the same time. 🙂
Finally, in my forty-first year of life I got the courage to keep going, writing a novel to completion. Then I shared it with a few trusted friends and family members, feeling sick at the thought of letting my little lamb go out to play with the other children. And as the feedback trickled in, perfection began to attack me again. It tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me I wasn’t good enough. Which is just as well because it wasn’t and as a matter of fact, the first draft NEVER is. For me, the second and third wasn’t either.
The real magic happens in the rewrites. You have to let your creativity run round the garden naked in front of a select few neighbours if you want to be a writer or creator of anything good. Perfection is still trying to attack me all the time, but persistence is my taser gun of choice these days. I won’t give up like I did ten years ago. I know I will keep writing, I will keep creating because it’s what I’m compelled to do. I’m currently on the first draft of book two and I’m not stopping to edit until all that cranberry juice is out on the table. But at least it won’t hurt when I break for a wee.
If the old me sounds like the current you, let it all flow. Write for pity’s sake!
And so, unpublished know-it-all writer that I am, I leave you with one thought: ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ It isn’t my own thought because I was afraid mine wasn’t perfect enough for the occasion. 😉 Now, get back to writing your next bunch of #It’llbealrightontherewrite clangers.
Ohhh, I forgot to say something about being easily distracted…