Manuscript length at time of writing this post:
Manuscript length at time of posting:
I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. English was my favourite class at school, I took an English Literature degree with Creative Writing at University, and I write a post for you every week.
I’m also writing a book, so why when I tell people that I write do I immediately go ‘well I try to, it’s not done yet!’? Am I not a ‘proper writer’ because I haven’t finished the book? It often feels that way. I’ve restarted it twice. I read a lot and an unfortunate side effect of that is that I constantly compare my own narrative voice to those of the books I read. It’s like imposter syndrome on steroids – yes I write, but compared to these incredible books, mine seems simplistic, badly written and dull. I accrued over £40,000 of debt in University fees for a piece of paper that tells me I’m good at writing and I still don’t believe it most days – so what will it take?
Writing is hard. Writing while working full time, caring for a dog, posting a review of a book every week, saving for a wedding and trying to spend time with my fiancee and friends is hard too. Doing all of this while recovering from depression feels impossible sometimes. I work 8-5 and I won’t lie to you, most days I get home and I’m exhausted. I managed to complete Nanowrimo the year before last by forcing myself to write over lunch breaks and in the evening, and while I was very productive in that sense I also wasn’t writing this blog at the time, I didn’t have a dog or planning a wedding and I ended up scrapping the majority of it. Doing it again this year was out of the question – I just couldn’t put myself through that again.
Exhaustion has always been a way my depression manifests. While I no longer have the option to lie in bed for hours because I can’t summon the will to move due to my job, I still have evenings and weekends where I do nothing, and I hate it. I want to be up and about, maybe taking Vegas for a jog or writing my masterpiece, cooking delicious meals and mastering my anxiety enough to move towards being tablet-free. Instead I lie there, in bed or on the sofa, falling in and out of sleep and unable to think anything more coherent that ‘I am so tired, why am I so tired?’. This led to caffeine dependence at Uni, something which I have to keep an eye on now. I drank so much coffee and tea a day that my mind would race even while my body fought for sleep, I’d have a pounding heart and I’d be unable to focus on anything. Not exactly the ideal situation in which to be doing anything productive.
So what does this have to do with writing? Well, it’s shaped how I see it now, and how I want to proceed this year – hopefully, letting you guys know how it’s going along the way!
This year I want to write more, and more often. The longer I go between writing sessions the harder it is to get started again. This might mean, in the long run, a larger gap between review posts but we will deal with that if it comes to it and I hope you all won’t mind too horribly. I will write even if I don’t feel like it, because writing only when I feel like it will result in a book in perhaps 25 years, and it would suck. What’s more I am a writer. Not a ‘writing hopeful’ not a ‘sort of writer’ – I write, therefore I am a writer. Just the same as I am a blogger. Sure I haven’t won any awards for it, I don’t get paid for it, and the book isn’t done. But I’m writing it, one painfully slow word at a time. I will write and rewrite it until it is done.
This is hopefully the first in a series of posts about writing and how I have been taught to do it – and then how much of that I ignored in favour of doing it my way. Hopefully it sparks discussions, suggestions, and community because I have found the online writing community to be a wonderful one.
Time to write.