Wednesday, 5 December 2012

How the Writing is (not) Going

I've been quiet of late - in real life, as well as on my blog. Winter is always a difficult time. The dark days exacerbate my depression and the weather makes it hard to get out and about, even if I feel up to it. The upshot is I haven't written anything for a month.

However, I've been feeling better for the past week. Not 100% better, but better enough to write a little and get some perspective. Collecting my dissertation last week has helped to encourage me, since the comments were mostly positive and the criticism has given me a lot of food for thought. It amazes me that the best-received stories are those where I took more risks, experimented a little and was more adventurous. I aim to write more stories like these in the near future!

I often forget that the things that make good writers good are the things that make them unique as people. Or rather, I recognise this in relation to other writers, but not myself! For so many years, I paid too much attention to people who wanted to restrain my ambition and imagination. People who saw my differences as negatives and tried to force me to be more "normal". No wonder I find it difficult to expose my quirks through my writing.

Tania Hershman recently blogged about permissions (here), which has preoccupied me since I read the post. I think doing a Creative Writing MA has given me permission to consider my writing as a career, as opposed to a hobby or pipedream, and to push the boundaries. It's given me permission to experiment and to show the results of these experiments to others. Before, I didn't want to waste people's time and assumed that their comments would be negative; I've discovered the opposite is true. People seem to delight in reading something different and are positive about these "experiments" while offering constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement.

I need to be braver! That's tricky, since suffering from anxiety means I'm scared of stupid, trivial things much of the time. But I'm determined to try to be more courageous and embrace my innate quirkiness, which I hope will make me a better writer.


  1. That's a very uplifting post, Hayley, and I do think it's important to experiment - thanks for reminding of it! Hope you have many positive moments coming your way.

  2. This sounds so positive and inspiring, Hayley, and has made me think about the importance of being brave.

    Embracing the essence of yourself, your own unique worth as a writer, takes courage. Once you have found that courage, there will be no stopping you.

    December is a month for taking stock of all you've achieved this year and thinking about the directions you'll take next year. I'm tidying my thoughts, sharpening my plans and looking forward to starting my new projects in January. I'm sure you have much to look forward to with your writing career in 2013 and I shall look forward to reading about your progress and success.

    Wishing you lots more positive thoughts and wonderful writing. x

  3. Thank you Rosemary and Joanna :-) I'm always wary of coming across as pathetiic and self-pitying in these introspective posts, so I'm glad you find it inspiring.

  4. Hayley, lovely inspiring blog. I think you are extraordinarily brave -- even writing this blog and sharing your process takes great courage.

    I read Tania's blog about permissions and I agree wholeheartedly that it's so important to allow oneself to write absolutely anything, in any style. I was taught, and still follow a writing approach called Freefall, developed originally by Canadian author and teacher, W.O. Mitchell, and then developed further by my own teacher, Barbara Turner Vesselago. Two of Freefall's precepts are 'write what comes up' and 'go fearward'. For me this approach is what got me writing, and keeps me writing. (You might want to take a look at Barbara's site, she's a wonderful mentor and guide and she does workshops in the UK which I highly, highly recommend

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Sandra. And thanks doubly for the recommendation!