I love writing. I love writing so much that when I was 11, my maths teacher Mr Gilmore had to put a note in my jotter asking me to stop writing the numbers out as words. I love writing so much that I went to university to do it (before realising I was in way over my head and running home to my mammy. Wah).
If you read my essay about my relationship with exercise on Zusterchap then you'll know I'm hard on myself when it comes to...well, everything. Mike says I treat every skill or hobby like I'm trying to make a living from it. So when it comes to writing, i.e the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, I'm no different.
Everything I write is terrible, everything I write is hard. I spend Sunday afternoons in the pub writing my screenplay, except I'm not. I'm planning and planning it so I don't have to face up to the possibility that it might be shit. I read dozens of incredible blogs, comparing and contrasting with mine. Every article I read doesn't leave me inspired; it leaves me thinking: "I could never do that."
I worry that my writing isn't brave or honest enough. I worry that unspoken issues in my personal life are diminishing my voice as a writer the longer I can't put them out in the open. I worry that I will never make writing a profession. I worry that the brick wall of depression will always get in the way when I'm feeling at my most creative. Worry worry worry.
After Claire recommended it on her blog, I ordered a copy of 'Big Magic' by Elizabeth Gilbert. You may remember her from the bestselling book 'Eat Pray Love' which sold a squillion copies and was made into a slightly-below-average Julia Roberts film in which she unconvincingly tried to make us believe she's too fat to fit into a pair of jeans.
Guys, I'm not exaggerating. This book has changed my life. CHANGED MY LIFE.
In a nutshell, Liz talks about being a writer; what motivates her when she's feeling doom and gloom, how she thinks creativity actually works and how she harnesses it. I recently read Stephen King's book on his process as a writer and it's quite intimidating. Elizabeth Gilbert recognises that although she's talented, lots of people are, and Eat Pray Love was, to a certain extent, a bit of a fluke. When Stephen King has written The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile AND The Shining, how can you possibly hope to reach his heights?
'Big Magic' is basically an extension of what Mike has always said to me: Writing like you're trying to make a living. Elizabeth Gilbert has taken all my insecurities as a writer and shot them to shit. I bullet pointed my favourite bits and wrote them in my journal, the most important being:
"Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them"
How true, Liz. Ok, writing isn't my job (unless you count road closure permits...which I don't) but if I'm spending all the spare time I have for it berating myself then it's going to make for a pretty miserable existence. In fact, it already is making for a miserable existence! Why am I fighting with myself and taking everything so seriously? It's. Just. Writing. And I'm going to do as much of it as possible.