I think my greatest difficulty as a writer has been having the confidence to go back to it, to produce the next bigger and better thing.
I’ve always had low self-esteem in all walks of life so my lack of confidence in my writing is no exception. But I am overcoming it – being involved in writing workshops while I was studying really helped. These writing workshops forced me to speak up and read my stories out. They forced me to listen to criticism and have the courage to either take it on board or throw it out. They gave me the confidence to own my stories. They are mine, after all. I can do whatever I want with them. I don’t have to remove that comma so-and-so says I should if I think it fits. I was very lucky while studying for my MA in Creative Writing that I had such a brilliant group of peers to help me out. They helped push me beyond my comfort zone and convinced me that I was more than just a one story wonder. I could write bigger and better things. And feel that I did. And I hope I continue to do so.
Another difficulty, which I’ve mentioned many times before, is consistency. When there isn’t the press of deadlines and other demands, I find it easy to ignore the characters in my head and the blank pages on my notebook. This is probably something to do with my lack of confidence in my abilities as a writer. But, again, I am overcoming it.
Over the past year I’ve written more than I ever have since I finished studying. I wrote my first short story in Lord knows how long for the historical fiction Form and Genre Challenge. I wrote it in three evenings. I actually sat down and listened to the characters that had set camp up in my imagination for months. I fleshed them out. I gave them names and a home. I gave my protagonist, Lily, a day in a week where it simply became too much to just continue with the rigours of her daily routine. I showed it to two of my writer buddies and they gave me, as always, indispensable advice. They encouraged me to submit it. And I did. And I won. Best feeling ever. I have never won anything in my life.
And, on a lighter note, two hours before I submitted my entry for the historical fiction Form and Genre Challenge I still didn’t have a title. One of my greatest difficulties as a writer is titling my work. How do you come up with titles? I find it nigh on impossible. I sometimes wish I could be one of those writers who have titles popping into their head and then the stories flow from there. Albeit, I certainly am not that type of writer. I guess you can’t win at everything!