Fright + Heads + PSA

I’ve blogged before, with varying quantities of tantrum and self pity, about the aspects of the writing life that I feel less comfy with, less equipped to handle, less likely to pull off with success. Somehow in that post I got onto talking about gin and Worzel Gummidge. Getting pissed. Putting a pretend head on. Coping strategies.

This past couple of weeks have been tough ones for doing things that I don’t particularly like doing. It seems relevant here to mention that one of several recurring dreams I have (the ones that are not about seagulls or monkey puzzle trees or balls of unravelling yellow wool) involves my mind replaying the most terrifying parts of The Return To Oz over and over again. All  night. Heads. Shouting heads. I have been having dreams like this, this month. A ton of them.

Mr. is brilliant, largely ignoring me, or muttering with unconcealed scorn: ‘You were like this the last time you had a book out, you know,’ as if writing a book were no more important than any of the other hundreds of tasks we do every day. Which is isn’t. It does make it easier. As does the fact that this urge to get drunk and decapitate myself might be a pattern, even if it is one I am not yet aware of.

I like to think some of you find this blog useful – writers and writers in the making. So it is almost a public service announcement for me to say yes, I am lucky and this is a good life. We are together and healthy and I get to do the job I always wanted to do. But. But. It is also contains bits of work that aren’t exactly my cup of tea. That leave me frazzled and anxious and teary. And I don’t yet have any advice for myself or for other people on how to deal with that.

Which is lucky, because I am friends with lots of writers and when I don’t have Tips, they often do. If you are, like me an incurable attention seeker who is horrified at the thought of being Looked At, see Emma Darwin’s blog for lists and suggestions on coping with the horror of publicity.

6 responses to “Fright + Heads + PSA”

  1. D J Harrison says:

    I get the feeling that, like me, the writing process touches a scary part of you that is more used to being hidden away and protected by all those brilliant avoidance strategies. My main one is telling myself that writing is the least important thing I do, that it’s a weird obsession and is preventing me from leading a useful life.
    Fortunately, I have the good sense to ignore myself a lot of the time.

  2. Claire King says:

    This *is* a really useful post, thanks for writing it. All of the stuff of which you talk is a way off for me, but it’s very reassuring to hear that not everyone who has gone ahead is gliding serenely through the process as if they were born to it.
    Emma’s post was also brilliant.

  3. Sibyl says:

    I’ve recently finished a piece of work that will be sort-of broadcast i.e. it’s a site-specific audio installation. Part of me feels pleased with what I’ve done. I did the best that I could, and had some good help along the way. It’s something new.

    Other writers that I know are good self-publicists. Not only will other people publicise stuff on their behalf. But they have websites, promote their stuff on Facebook where they have huge quantities of ‘friends’. They send out loads of emails.

    I find this really hard. Part of me honestly feels my work isn’t good enough because it’s never as good as the picture, the ideal in my head. And part of me feels ashamed of that. So putting anything out there is a fight, a struggle…

  4. Jacqui Christodoulou says:

    I absolutely hate getting up and talking about my work. I’ve developed lots of coping strategies, including seeing a hypnotist and listening to REM’s ‘Walk Unafraid’ over and over and just plain old refusing to do things that would probably have gone OK.
    I’m not happy that you feel the same as me, Jenn, but it really does help to know it isn’t just me feeling it! Thanks for posting this.

  5. Amber Paulen says:

    I’m reminded of Annie Dillard, who after winning the Pulitzer for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek moved to a remote island off of Washington State. Not a bad idea! Compare the serenity of trees to the buzzing of so many external words… Anyway, your post makes me want to watch The Return to Oz again, what a dark movie!

  6. Megan says:

    Please pass the bottle…
    (Good luck Jenn!)

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