On Writing Something Awful
The two small furry beasts living in my kitchen/living room are making it difficult to find time to write. Even as I type that a nagging voice inside me points out that it’s actually about making the time, not stumbling across it as you would a €5 note in last winter’s coat pocket.
The puppies really are very cute though.
Before I started this blog, I hadn’t written a thing since the creative writing part of my degree. That was three or four years ago now. Ouch. During the gap, I did feel that something was missing and occasionally had a strong urge to pick up a pen and put it to paper. My only problem was that I didn’t know what to write about. Whilst I’d say it is pretty important to have something in mind, looking back I think that the main issue was that I was fixated on writing something good. If it wasn’t good then I didn’t want to bother.
Recently my dad mentioned his own interest in beginning to write. Along with this interest, however, came all the questions of, ‘Is the story captivating enough?’, ‘Is my English up to scratch?’, etc. He also mentioned a book he had read about writing which seemed to focus quite heavily on how to be published and, secondly, just how near-impossible it would indeed be. Needless to say, he was quite put off the idea of it after reading this. Over the weekend I visited a book shop and flipped through a few books on the subject of writing; the same story was repeated in these.
This bothered me. And then I realised that I had had the same worries myself a few days ago after I re-read my most recent post the day after pressing ‘publish’ and decided it was pretty awful. My first thought was, “Shit. People are going to read this and judge the rest of what I have to say based on it.” I was close to getting rid of it but then, eh, I guess I got caught up with the puppies and forgot all about it.
As I sat down this evening and wrote out a few words of encouragement to my dad to hopefully push him back in the direction of putting his story down on paper, I made a point of telling him that it’s not about being published; it’s not even about being good. It’s just about doing it. Sure, maybe the only person who will read through what you have written is yourself but so what? When did that stop being good enough? This constant need for others’ approval in order to validate something (‘Like’s on Facebook, views on Youtube…) is pretty ridiculous.
What you have created is yours. It might be fantastic or it might be dreadful but it is yours and it is enough.