I don’t know if it’s because we’re in summer and I’m spending more time away from both books and computers, to be replaced with plants and cameras, but I had a rather gloomy thought the other day regarding my creative writing…
If I never get any of my creative writing published, am I still a writer?
I love writing, it’s something I can’t stop doing and haven’t stopped since I wrote my first Ben the Bear story when I was about 5yrs of age. Doesn’t always have to be creative but it has to be meaningful words on a page, and some not so meaningful.
A few years ago I had it in my head (I don’t know how this started) that I would like to be a writer. Of course to be a writer you need to write and while I had loads of things started over the years I never actually completed a novel, nor had an article written.
So I gathered my tools, and got down to some serious writing and completed a novel for NaNoWroMo. On top of that I started to write various articles and began this blog as another outlet for writing – regularly.
Then I thought wouldn’t it be great to actually get my creative writing noticed and become a ‘real’ author from all this typing and scribbling and try and get something published? So for the past year I’ve been working towards that goal and setting up a plan which has been pretty much stuck to.
However my plan has come to the point where is says – get your writing read. And now I’ve got stuck, and my thought was – am I really a writer if I never, ever get published?
I could publish my novel writing on my blog but apparently this isn’t the done thing if you want to get seriously published. So I’ve got to edit my work enough to then start pitching to publishers and it’s all starting to feel slightly weird.
I want people to read my work, anyone, to know if it’s worth pitching to begin with. However I hate showing my work. My creative writing is such a personal thing that to ask anyone to read it would be really hard to do.
I don’t want to be judged.
Don’t get me wrong my novel isn’t an amazing memoir of some dreadful childhood I never had – it’s more of just a run of the mill romance story (albeit about two women but I know that’s part of the pitch), even so I appear to have lost meaning to why I am writing because my plan has come to a full stop.
I’ve basically written a lot of creative pages I can’t bring myself to self-promote. So why the hell am I writing at all?
The process of writing versus the end product
I’ve tried various solutions to this problem of mine:
- I went to a writing group in Grimsby. Great bunch (although the writing age was probably closer to 65), but they were all so established and I felt completely uneasy discussing anything so personal as my work. Sure, I can make up other stories but they don’t come from the heart, it’s not the stories I actually want published that I could talk about. So I left.
- I’ve tried on-line writing forums but again – they take an awful lot of time to get established with and half the time you haven’t got a clue who you’re corresponding with.
- Joined a writing class which felt exactly like being back at University and once again having to discuss my work which at the time I hadn’t even written.
Either I’m completely off whack here but it feels like there is a distinct lack of places to showcase creative work. Either you self-publish and to hell with the costs (because obviously you’re going to be a best seller), or you contact every publisher on the planet until one might take you on to critic your work.
In the fast paced, on-line world we live in you’d think that maybe there would be somewhere else, somewhere between the two, to write, publish, have fun and find out if you’ve (me) actually got any talent.
Turns out that there is (kind of). It’s called Wattpad – infamously promoted by non-other than Margaret Atwood herself. It’s a great tool for finding new writers and if you’re wondering, yes I have added the first chapter of my novel to it. It’s very user friendly and easy to navigate but I do feel like it’s very much aimed at everyone below the age of 18.
Am I just a secret creative writer?
Do I stay as I am or should I face my demons and get my writing read in any way possible, what ever the inner and outer critics may say?
As a writer have you had to face this challenge, or are you happy to just write without going through the assault course that is called publishing?