The Anxiety of Writing – October 2019 Review31/10/2019 1 By GlennThomas
I’ve decided I don’t want to work anymore. A friend of mine works in an office and told me about his experience, but I’d scratch my eyes out staring at a screen and pull my remaining hair out as the phone rang around me. I enjoy my job at times, time flies by, and the pub offers a refreshing reward for a job well done. But if I stopped drinking, I might never have to work at all. The problem is the hours I put in when all I want to do is write.
The Anxiety of Writing
A few weeks ago, I posted a poem called Comedian, where I discussed the difficulties with writing. Specifically, revealing my hobbies to people I meet, especially when most of my friends don’t know the extent of what I do. This has inspired a series of posts I plan to write for the following month but having worked so much I haven’t had much time to prepare.
I find it easier to share my words with strangers than I do with my loved ones, although I’ve never experienced any of the negative comments from those who I’ve confided in. I shared a draft with the girlfriend of a friend who said she loved the book but added a few edits that I’d missed. Her comments were positive, but she noticed things I’d overlooked with her fresh pair of eyes. Since then, I’ve edited the novel several more times.
This month I plan to send my first few chapters to a few literary agents with the hope of receiving some positive feedback. Submitting a manuscript feels easy when I expect the rejection, but I think I’ll struggle to provide the whole manuscript should an agent request the full thing. I’ve never shared a complete copy with anyone. Maybe, I should find a beta reader I can trust, but it’s difficult with the number of willing readers online. I have a newfound distrust for Social Media which I’ll explain in a few weeks and reading groups.
The Need To Be Right
I hate clichés. Sometimes I worry that my novel sounds too cliched and that I’ve wasted my writing life focused on a fictional work that everyone will feel like they’ve read before. At other times, I believe I’m a genius. That’s not ego, because I believe in myself, then I doubt myself and wonder what gives me the right to try and write a book.
Similarly, when I write about writing, what makes me the authoritative voice on writing? As a chef, I come across poorly written recipes by non-professional cooks all the time. As a fan of Hip-Hop, I’ve read articles about the genre and my favourite artists that make no sense at all, since the writers have little expertise in the subject area. What if what I write is wrong? I’m not a published writer after all, but if my readers enjoy my work or disagree then I’ve done something right, surely?
My biggest anxiety attack around my writing was over an article scheduled for the next week. The report in question focuses on the idea of writing what you know. Well, what if I’m wrong, or what I’ve discussed offends someone? These things don’t bother me in real life. I have a right to an opinion, but everything I write brings another fear of rejection. Oh, the trivial problems of a new(ish) writer.
An Outdated Post
This month had its positives though. It showed me that my writing doesn’t have to remain set in stone and can evolve. My google analytics has declined but compared to my post-activity last month, they’ve increased on average. I have a lot to talk about and want to improve my blogging intensity, but I need time to gather enough articles, so my blog content doesn’t run dry. Although I’ve learnt, a blog cannot be complete, but it can grow and evolve depending on the writer and the audience.
I focused on an end goal in the form of a completed website. I forgot to enjoy writing and developing ideas. I let my Instagram go stale and left other social media sites to focus on making my site aesthetically pleasing. When I should’ve followed the advice of popular writing memes that told me I should be writing.
Christopher Clark: The Sleepwalkers
I love travelling, but sometimes I need time to catch up on reading. I haven’t had much time to read as much as I’ve wanted this month, but I do need to update one post. 6 Books I’ve Never read would now be called five books because I finally finished reading Christopher Clarks, The Sleepwalkers. A great read that I learned a lot from, I didn’t know much about the start of one of the most significant events of the 20th century. Maybe next month I can cross another book of the list, but I doubt it. I might never read maxed out.
Into the Unknown
Taking an active role in promoting my blog is brand new. My analytics remain relatively low, and I wonder why I’ve wasted my time to polluting my site with adverts. I suppose it’s a way of making my site feel complete. They’ll soon disappear as I focus on my sites evolution and building relationships with my readers and bloggers I love reading.
I finally published a long-planned article about my friend whose work I used to use a lot on my site. To help us promote our respective sites, William Steel and I have started comparing analytics and running a friendly competition. He won this month, but he’s also done it longer. We share helpful hints and tips we’ve found around the web.
The best part of blogging is the change of direction and the people I interact with from day to day. Every day is a chance to experience something new, to create something different or learn something else. It’s great motivation.
George Orwell and Why I Write
As I said earlier, I haven’t much time to do much this month, but I have managed to read a few books. My favourite from this month was a collection of essays by George Orwell published by Penguin titled why I write. I related to his reasons in the titled article. But the longest piece focused on English society during the second world war. George Orwell fully covers the idea of pure socialism and inequality in society as well describing the difference between Englishness and Britishness which to Orwell seemed the same although he explains this as a concept and the idea of nationalism as a group believing in the idea of land. The same themes exist in Yuval’s trilogy which I also finished reading this month. Great writing explains controversial opinions well.
About The Author
I often ask myself, who am I? I'm a brother, I'm a friend, I’m somebodies’ child but I’m an adult. I've been high and I've been low, I’ve seen a lot but nowhere near enough. I’m the victim and the victor, the beauty in the beast and the uglier side of me. I mastered words but still don’t know how to use the power for good. I’ve looked everywhere to find out just who I am and I’m still searching for the man in the mirror. The search will never end but once I find myself, I lose all reason to be who I am, a writer.