Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I just recently turned forty six. For some reason this truly bothered me the way milestone birthdays don’t and for a while I wondered why.
I mean, I was left undisturbed by forty five, so why should forty six matter?
I think part of it is a milestone thing. Forty six sounds definitely on the downslope, the way forty five didn’t. One starts to sit down and take stock of what one has accomplished. In my case, I suspect the answer is very little.

Connie Willis once said in the dark of night, in the secret of your own soul, you know how good or how bad a writer you are. I very much hope she’s wrong, because in the dark of night – or even the light of day – what I’ve managed to do feels totally irrelevant and insignificant.

I don’t know about other writers out there. I hear that in Hollywood you’re only as good as your last project and I know in writing it is the same. But at least inside this writers’ head it’s far worse than that. You see the difference between what’s in your head and what comes out on the page, and you start wondering "Why can’t I get the big vision out that’s in my head?"

And I guess that’s the other half of what made me depressed. I have so many stories in my head, so many books struggling to come out and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to translate them into reality.
However, today is a work day, and I’ll sit down and put the words down as I must. And perhaps today I’ll manage to spin straw into gold, or at least to bring the gold in the head down into the page.
I have actually thought of several things I can do to make it easier. Changes in my work habits, changes in how I conceive of and work the books. I will go into those in other posts.
And now because life springs eternal, I shall grab some coffee and work. (Ah, the glamourous life of the writer. :) )


Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Unless you are Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and believe your own PR, I think every writer doubts themselves.

That's the thing about being creative. What you produce (art, music, books, movies) emerges from your mind. It's incredibly intimate.

Whether your book/painting/movie/ song works or not depends on how well your inner vision travels, using the creative tools available to your field.

Only when you turn it into an outer vision that people can see/hear/interact with, do you know if you've been successful and by then, it is out there for all to see.


Yet we keep doing it.

Cheers, R.

Dave Freer said...

In short: she's wrong.