Just lately I’ve been going through yet another crisis of confidence, although a review of my book did help me to feel a little better about what I am trying to do. I’ve been feeling more and more like I’m not a real writer. As much as I have railed against it, and as much as I have yelled and about it or held my breath until I’m sick, the effect of all that internet ‘advice’ about writing has been remorseless and seemingly unavoidable.
Part of it is that nobody seems to regard memoir writers as writers. Fiction seems to be where the glory and the accolades are at. Here, I must pause because my poor typing skills have just prompted the spell-checking program to substitute ‘accolades’ with ‘coolades’, and I feel the need to curse the universe just a tiny little bit. Even worse, ‘coolades’ isn’t a word at all, which means that the spell-checking software is entirely innocent, and I must have typed it all by myself without any electronic influence. I am therefore, now instead cursing (gently, because I need them), my two main typing fingers - appropriately enough, the middle finger of each hand.
So; sometimes (when we touch….etc.). A friend has suggested - bluntly but not unreasonably – that instead of a pure memoir, in my next (currently being written) book I might construct a story arc into which I can weave my genuine experiences. I like this idea, although it does mean extra work for me, since I am committed to my original writing goal of getting down on paper (so to speak), as many memories as I can, so that my descendants might one day enjoy exploring them, and by extension, my personality. It means writing a memoir and then writing a story within which some memories are preserved. Both projects appeal to me for different reasons, not least because it breathes a little freshness into a project that had begun to drift into the mental doldrums.
By way of refreshment, I’m also re-visiting a couple of fiction projects (that’s not to say that they’re fictional projects; they are real proj….oh you know what I mean) and doing a little editing as a precursor to continuing them with my creative juices reinvigorated. As I may have told you before today, one is a crime story (admittedly formulaic in nature, but I justify it to myself by convincing myself that it’s only an experiment) while the other is a fantasy-ish thing about a time-travelling dog and his human companions. OK, I admit it; it’s about the dog’s human companions. That project has stalled because I’m trying to avoid being formulaic.
In among this, I’m still trying to work up the courage to properly explore the world of freelance writing. I’ve never dealt well with having my work rejected (which makes that part of writing a really fun thing to do….not….) and I think that’s what is holding me back from diving in and just having a go at something. I know, however, that common sense dictates that it’s the way for me to go next. So I will.