Monday, 6 August 2018

Is it about you?

Is it ever about you? Rarely is my answer.

I was chatting to a friend about writing today. She wants to do a creative writing course, but finds the idea of talking about ideas scary - and what if no one likes your idea or your writing?

I think that scares everyone. And it's even more scary when someone you know reads it... because you know them, they're reading your words and that's as embarrassing as walking the dog naked.

Is it embarrassing cos it's about you? No, that's not it. I write fiction. My latest project has a serial killer in it, so it's definitely not about me, however bad my day got! And even my poetry is fiction - abstracts, fictional characters and imagined situations. They're rarely about me.

So what is so embarrassing?

Because maybe it does make you feel stripped bare, pinned like a butterfly. But it shouldn't. Maybe it's self-criticism, lack of confidence or maybe just fear. But as my mum always told me, you can't achieve anything without trying. And with writing, someone somewhere will get what you're saying. And you just can't please everybody – ever.

I've done three creative writing courses, all different (two fiction, one poetry), and they were great. Inspiring, interesting, fun and supportive. You learn a lot and they get you writing. A great butt-kick for the humble procrastinator.

So go for it, I told my friend. Hopefully she will.

The creative writing courses I've done and recommend:
Writing for children – Writers & Artists
Poetry – Faber
Starting to write your novel (online) – Curtis Brown

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