Now that I’ve finished the main draft of After Black, I’ve been free to decide what to get stuck into next, in order to dovetail the new with the more routine editing process of the novel. I was so looking forward to this time of liberation – but guess what? It’s proving difficult. And my head has been buzzing with so many thoughts, ideas, not to mention self doubts, while my heart has been beating excitedly, off and on, at the prospect of doing some fresh new writing…but I’m all of a dither! No lovely smooth feeling of flow in calm water, but being bumped around by opposing currents.
So what’s the matter?
I think the inner critic has cast its eye over, and prodded and probed, this particular seed.
I’ve been itching to write a memoir and guide to midlife crisis for some time now, which I have alluded to having gone through before. It’s really where all the reading that I’ve shared on this blog began and spans around the last 6 years of my life. There is a lot of ‘material’ to get stuck into, some of it funny, some of it not so. I love life-writing, and it would be something I would envisage self-publishing. It would be so refreshing a change from the plotting and intensity of fiction for a while, and I really want to do it. I’ve researched the idea of doing a hybrid book (memoir and ‘self help’ guide) and there are those who say it’s really popular now and people love reading other people’s experiences if they are written engagingly and honestly, and readers can learn from the writer’s experiences, but there are also those who say – mix the two genres at your peril – who are you to write a self help or guide book if you aren’t a professional psychologist? I can get around this by writing it as memoir first and foremost, forget the ‘self help’ wording, but keep the idea of a ‘guide’ perhaps, and basically ‘let the content define the form’ – this is a useful bit of advice I picked up somewhere and very much liked :>) But my inner critic has been whispering in my ear things like this:
People might say ‘Who do you think you are?’
People might say ‘what you went through was nothing’ that ‘there are far more serious life experiences people go through than this!’ For crying out loud!
People might say ‘what a fuss about nothing.’ Or even worse ‘what a load of rubbish!’
Two close friends I chatted to about it recently, thought it would be a bit too brave, that I risk being hurt by the possible reader reactions above, and so I’ve been wondering if I can withstand that. Answer? I honestly don’t know. But I don’t think I’ll be any more knowing of this in the future. Doing it now feels right.
Why am I thinking of reader reactions in advance of the writing? Because when I write, I want a reader – that’s it in a nutshell, and I suspect it is for many of us. In other words, it’s not a case of writing it just for me…
Where I’m at right now with this seed is, I’ve written the introduction, I’m mulling over my fears, but I want to begin. My head is urging caution, my heart is saying do it regardless.
My aunt’s box of files and folders is still tied up with bale string, in our hut waiting for me. (Previous post here) I vowed I would take a serious look at her story of being a farmer’s wife, and the possible intrigues or paranoia therein in losing her farm, after I’ve finished my synopsis for After Black (currently 3 pages long. Too long!) My fears here are of becoming too embroiled and engulfed by a mass of information which I may not be able to do anything with, and which I will then be in the position of having to destroy as I haven’t the room to keep it, knowing I will be putting a permanent end to what amounts to her life’s work. Tricky one, to say the least! And although saying we weren’t close is putting it mildly, I respect the time and effort she put into her record keeping as I would anyone else who did the same. What will it feel like to decide it’s not viable? What will it be like to get to know my aunt through this ‘paperwork’ who I hadn’t even known for the last 30 years? So this is becoming a bit of a Pandora’s Box for me!
To carry on with novel 3, having written the first three chapters some time ago now – and that’s writers euphemism for too long ago! There are no fears concerning watering this seed, it’s just that I feel like a break doing some life writing instead for a while, and yet I don’t want to keep this novel waiting much longer.
Like many of us, I do have other seeds currently waiting on my writers to do list, but the above three are the ones I currently favour, albeit with my head and heart at odds with each other. And I’m sharing this dilemma with you as I expect some of you will know exactly what this conflict is like, as well as the self doubt, whether with writing or other creative projects clamouring for your attention. Anyway, I’ve decided to do some painting for a while and finish one I began too long ago to mention ;>) which is on my painting desk, and slow myself down a little, to stop struggling and find some natural flow to the direction I should take. Oh, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the garden when the weather improves, as I need to sort the desirable from the not so desirable seeds growing in there too!
Another change I feel the need to make is with the frequency of my blog posts. So far I’ve had plenty to post about, more or less one a week, and I do enjoy it immensely, but to avoid feeling the pressure to come up with topics, and to avoid repeating topics, I’m going to go with the flow with these too. So it may be a case of one every two weeks for a while, but I will certainly still post whenever I feel I’ve got something useful to say or want to share, and I know that many of you bloggers will understand this need for a shift. But I will still be here and checking in with you, and here’s wishing you all well!
(lovely images from pixabay)