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I am a writer - late developer since I wasn't published until I was 50. I have now written 23 novels, numerous short stories and articles.

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Monday, 3 August 2009
Writing is a funny old business. If you think about it, it is the ego trip of all time. You scribble away, your thoughts pouring out onto the page - your being the operative word. The author is in total control, spouting off if the mood takes them. Shall we make them laugh, shall we make them cry? The only restriction being, is it right for the novel? The author creates a world which is uniquely theirs and populated with characters of their choosing. Bored with a person, they kill them off, or send them to Australia. The power we have can be quite intoxicating. We can even control what the weather will be. Finished, the words on the page go out into the world and people read them and react to them – perhaps not in the way you envisaged but then any reaction is better than non! What pulls one up short is the realisation that to do so they have shelled out hard earned cash. Now do you see what I mean about ego? Yet the confusion continues for that word - ego - implies confidence and certainty. But the odd thing is that the author on this trip is unlikely to be either of these. There is one thing that unites most writers and that is the conviction that they can’t write, what they have done is rubbish, that they are not proper writers but frauds, and they are astonished that anyone would want to read a word of what they have written. Strange isn’t it? (Of course there are writers who think that everything they do is absolutely brilliant but it’s best if I don’t get started on them, it might get a bit explosive. Suffice to say all the very successful authors I know come into ‘I write rubbish,’ category. ) It has to be said that writing for publication is not a career for the fainthearted. Not only do we have this self-doubt to deal with but we then have the agony of waiting to hear what agents and editors think of it. This is not easy, you understand, when you think it is piffle in the first place. Criticism has to be endured, taken on board and acted upon. It is presumed that you are grateful for this criticism and accept that it is part of the job. Personally, despite what I think about my work, I always want to put an axe through the critic’s head. I don’t of course, I smile as a mature author should and thank them graciously, while boiling inside. But there’s another mystery – after reflection, I acknowledge that they are right, that work is needed on a particular section, that this character is not realistic etc just as they pointed out. And I put my axe away but what has happened? My feeling that everything I do is rubbish is verified. Funny old business, writing.

4 comments:

  1. just the words I need to hear right now.
    thanks,
    lx

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  2. Dear Anita,
    Have been thinking of you lately, then had a long involved dream about you last night so googled you and found your blog! Good to hear that life is treating you well. I'm now in Suffolk and v happy here. Love to you and B and to the family.
    Lorna x

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  3. Funny post! Have always enjoyed your books.

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  4. Thank you for this, Anita. It's so true and so reassuring to hear it from you.

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