On writing: Will I ever become a writer?

Borrowing the title from Dorothea Brande’s 1934 novel that speaks with such clarity nearly 80 years on, I wonder if I will ever become a writer or always be becoming?

Unlike most things I have done in my adult life there isn’t a syllabus or a set of instructions to follow. I can’t mind-map my way to publication. Up until now, I have assumed that if I put in enough hard work and commitment I will be successful – it’s worked before.

But then I have never (seriously) tried to become a writer until now.

And never have I felt so vulnerable, so useless and so wretched.

Most days, I am preoccupied with worry that I have reached my ceiling, that there is no more capacity to improve. At times I am floored by my arrogance in believing that 1) I have anything worth saying, and 2) anyone would want to read it.

And yet I can’t stop doing it – like the rebound singer on a reality show, returning year on year, provoking a pity cheer and embarrassed applause.

I don’t want to be here, feeling like this. But I have been cursed by a malicious imp, sniggering over my words, while whispering accolades in my ear.

Will I ever become a writer?

I don’t know. But I do know, I will only have failed if I give up becoming.

How do you keep going,when it gets tough? What makes you want to write?

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6 thoughts on “On writing: Will I ever become a writer?”

  1. You need to find motivation to keep writing. The world has a way of always giving you the things you REALLY want. You just have to keep working at it! I look forward to hearing your progress! I have followed this blog. Good luck!

    I have a new writing blog that I created after self-publishing my first novel for the Kindle. Please check it out and share your writing experiences with me!
    http://gdalexander.wordpress.com/
    -G.D.

  2. “How do you keep going,when it gets tough? What makes you want to write?” Answer: I write some more.

    Ask yourself who are you writing for? If the answer is anything other than, because I love it or because it’s fun, you may need an adjustment. If you ask any successful writer what is the number one worst reason to write, nine out of ten will say to make money and become famous. If you have not read, “On Writing” by Stephen King, do so now. He gives some great advise on many facets of the writing profession.

    Hang in there. Your last line is the most important. You only fail if you give up.

  3. Thank you JD and Dennis for offering your wisdom. I have read On writing and I agree. Dorothea Brande’s novel is also ‘writing soul food’ and I find myself reading it over and over – it is not so much a how to write book, but how to be a writer.

  4. Juliet, you ARE a writer, and an excellent one at that. I know this not only because I have read your writing, but also because you say you can’t stop. Real writers write simply because they have to, and usually because they love it. You don’t need a contract to call yourself a writer.

  5. I agree with Juli, but it’s very hard to keep believing in it in the face of so many disappointments (I’m talking generally here now) and can even seem quite mad to do so. Anyway, must be something in the ether (or don’t we all come back to it time and time again) as what constitutes a writer is the subject of my blog today http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2013/05/4-definitions-of-a-writer.html.
    Also was thinking of you and your novel recently having just read Louisa Young’s My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You (about facial disfigurement among lots of other things) – I guess just a reminder there is something there that people want to read.

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