Self worth, honesty and writing

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Too often blog posts, facebook and twitter seem to be about projecting an idealised version of oneself. Happy, successful, inspired, creative. This very website began to document a process of my creativity but ended up as a simulacrum of a creative life. Quite simply I don’t know what to say anymore.

With one eye on the possible impression that a visiting agent may get should they wish to publish my novel this blog has become a sterile beast, like a hybrid flower with no sustenance for bees.

Perhaps it’s also my job – I’ve been working in marketing for years  where one has to think about an ‘audience’, creating a message that will resonance to create a plan of communications. It’s all so worthy.

Well it’s stifling me; stopping me wanting to blog for fear of creating the wrong impression. I have of course full-blown imposter syndrome. I used to be convinced that I’d be found out at work – shown up to be the incapable one, the one they shouldn’t have employed

These days the imposter syndrome is fed by the process of being a writer. Every time I receive a rejection it becomes harder to continue. I wonder if I should give up this writing lark that causes so much pain and requires so much effort. Gardening holds none of these dilemmas.

Deep down I know that my self-worth should not be measured by publication. My writing self should be fed by love of the writing. But I don’t want my work just to sit in a draw or on my laptop any longer. Of course I could self-publish, but in my world I want the satisfaction of knowing someone else thinks it’s good enough to be traditionally published. Publication = validation.

These emotional wranglings ignore the root reason I write – because I must – because it’s all I know how to do – because when it flows there is nothing better, and I want to leave something of worth. Also I want to connect with others, as well as myself. But without an audience, what use is writing? Just some self-indulgent compulsion that isolates and takes time from my family. Not being brilliant, not doing it, editing and letting it lie fallow are all reasons for my current unhappiness.

As for blogging, without some emotional honesty, the blog is going to be a pale imitation of art.

This may be self-indulgence, but it feels like it’s important to set down a marker to of where I am in my writing life. I’m not giving up, the only way is to go deeper, and one way of that is to pick off the scab and give my writing dilemmas some air.

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Review of September Novel Nights

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Nick Rawlinson, Sarah Hilary,

Nick Rawlinson, Sarah Hilary, Aaron Anthony and Abigail Moore

 

Bristol Players read an extract from Sarah Hilary’s gripping debut novel, Someone Else’s Skin  at September Novel Nights followed bynovelist,  Dr Sanjida O’Connell, having a Q and A with Sarah.

 

Sarah Hilary with Dr Sanjida O' Connell at Novel Nights

Sarah Hilary with Dr Sanjida O’ Connell at Novel Nights

During the second half of Novel Nights we were treated to local writers performing extracts from their work: Anne Corlett, was a criminal lawyer for 13 years, but is in the process of switching to freelance writing.  Anne read  from Fallen, her second novel. She is represented by the Richford Beklow Agency, recently won the HE Bates prize and was placed third in the Bristol Short Story Prize. She is starting an MA in writing at Bath Spa University

Kate Simants moved from London six years ago, but she still finds herself writing about the capital because it suits her style of bleak noir better than Keynsham. She is currently working on a second novel, and shared an extract from her first novel The Blanks, which was inspired in part by her work as an undercover TV journalist.

 Trevor Coombs writes historical fiction and performs monologues around Bristol and read from his latest work.

And lastly, Sanjida O’Connell had an extract of Bone by Bone, the thriller she is working on, read by Nick Rawlinson. Sanjida is a novelist and non-fiction writer with four novels and four non-fiction works published.

 Next Novel Nights: 9th October with guest speaker Anna Freeman presenting her debut novel A Fairfight.

20th November with Jane Shemilt, author of Daughter, a Richard and Judy Book Club Choice, and currently No 2 in the Sunday Times Bestseller Charts. Don’t miss!