I’m going to say this once, very quietly, “I am a writer.” I have been for years. I’ve declared it on Twitter and in the very act of creating this website. This represents growth for me. In the past, just saying those four little words was the thing of dreams. Yet, at the same time, it was a statement that once OUT THERE would have kept me far from sleep at night, twisting in the throes of mortification without release. For months.
I have spent literally decades of my life sitting alone in a room obsessing over characters and plots and dialogue that hardly anyone else ever gets to see. I re-write sentences seventeen times. I torture myself with endings so that they don’t spoil the effect of the entire genius-rest of the book. I grind myself into a pit (and not, sadly, a Brad Pitt) of near-despair over something which – really – is insignificant.
But I am obsessed. I can’t let go of it. I can’t stop my fingers flying across the keyboard with (I like to think) a piano-player’s elegance.
For years I didn’t send out anything I wrote because I couldn’t shake the notion that if I could hold on to a piece and give myself more time, I could make it better. I was never very good at handing anything in when I was at school. I used to do the homework well in advance of the deadline (Type A personality) but I found it very difficult to let my work – whatever it was – out of my grasp and my control and into someone else’s Judgement Zone.
Apparently, I’m not alone. Mslexia recently published the results of a survey suggesting that many (female – in this instance but I’m sure it’s not just women) writers are slow to send out what they create or never send anything out at all.
Time helps. I’ve become more confident as I’ve aged. What’s the worst that could happen? Someone could say, “No!” Hardly the end of the world.
Now, having developed a thick skin, I say, “Bring on the reviewers!”