I am currently going through the ‘everything I write is s**t’ phase, and that includes stories I have had published. I mean, what would they know?
This phase leads to the ‘why am I even bothering’ stage, hand in hand with the ‘I am wasting my time’ phase. Sound familiar?
What sets this in motion? Procrastination? Reading something awesome and profound by a fellow writer that we know we will never emulate? The phases of the moon? Or just a general dip in our biorhythms; a funk? If I had the answer I could probably write a book on it.
So what to do?
For starters, get up and stop sulking. Next, move away from that computer and note book! Now, set yourself a task you know is achievable and /or short. Like doing the dishes, or going for a walk. Load the washing machine or read a chapter of your favourite book. Weed the path. Whatever it is finish it. Achievement!
Now, tell yourself you can write. You are a writer. I. CAN’T. HEAR. YOU. That’s better. You are one of a big wonderful group of writers who go through this same phase over and over again.
Self doubt is a kicker. It sneaks up on us when we least expect it and we let it in. And it wants to stay. Don’t let it. Kick it back. In fact, kick it out. It will come back, like the proverbial bad penny, but next time you will be prepared; you will shut the door in it’s face before it gets the whole foot in.
In a timely moment before I was ready to post this, I read Charlotte Wood’s article in The Australian, written after she was awarded the Stella Prize 2016 for her novel The Natural Way of Things. She writes of almost giving up because no one would want to read it. And why and how she didn’t give up. So glad she didn’t.
I have said before that I am not a reviewer, but when I come across a work I enjoy I am compelled to share my thoughts. And I enjoyed Kindling II, an anthology produced and published by Writer’s Edit, very much.
From the blurb on the back of the book-
“over 30 deeply personal and inspiring works of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and industry advice from Australian and international literary talent.”
I could not say than any one of the stories was more powerful than another, but I will admit to being brought to tears reading Friedrich’s Goat by Rosalind Moran, and Dear Perfect Stranger by Karen Morrow caused me to emit an ‘Oh’ out loud as I finished it. And the poetry, well let me just say it left me in awe.
This is a volume of works I will return to, not only for the pleasure of reading it over, but for the valuable insider knowledge and tips, such as the piece by Kyla Bagnall – Unsolicited to Solicited, which covers topics from the value of literary agents and how to find one, competitions, pitching to networking.
Other pages bookmarked are – The Waiting Game: Strategies for patience in the Publishing Industry by Alison Jean Lester (as in patience post-submission) and Writing a Perfect Query Letter by Benjamin Stevenson. (I loved the date analogy throughout this).
Kindling II is not only a valuable tool for writers but those who read for pleasure will not be disappointed. A perfect companion to Kindling I.
I am not a reviewer, but I like to share my thoughts when I read a good book. (I am proud to say I am currently reading some great books by Australian writers.)
A Guide To Berlin was written by one of my favourite Oz writers, Gail Jones. Don’t get me wrong, I am not biaised here; I don’t necessarily enjoy all the books written by my favourite authors.
From the beginning I was drawn into this book through excellent characterisation. I felt a real sense of them all. Cass, the reluctant Aussie; Marco, leader, real estate agent and writer, the tragic Gino, friends from Italy; Yukio and Mitsuko, writers from Japan; and the funny, high spirited Victor on sabbatical from the US.
They are connected by a shared interest in the work of Vladimir Nabokov, a Russian American novelist. At least once a week they meet in empty apartments to share their thoughts and impression of his writing; but also they begin to share their own stories and deep memories.
It is during one of these meetings that one of them commits a violent act they did not see coming. How this impacts the rest of the group, and what happens next, makes for riveting reading.
I found this book compelling and as dark as I imagine a Berlin in winter to be. I can’t say the ending satisfied me, but any other ending would have disappointed, if that makes sense. It left me pondering and wanting more. Isn’t that the way a good book should end?
“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” Vladimir Nabokov