Are you afraid of writing cheques with your mouth that you think you can’t cash? I loved that saying when I heard it on some gangster movie I watched years ago. I went through a phase that started with The Godfather.
When I was a young artist I confused people by telling them I was a painter. I was afraid of calling myself an artist, as though I was making promises I couldn’t keep. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, I became just that; just a painter. I felt like a fraud when I was painting because I was making art to match the decor. I was ashmamed of much of the work I was doing, even though it was selling well and I was providing a much needed service for the interior design industry. But the one thing I vowed I would never do as an idealistic young woman was make art to match the cushions. (When I say idealistic you can read that as judgemental if you like. We’re all judgemental when we’re starting out because we don’t know what we are going to have to do in the process of finding our work, our voice.) I learnt so much in the process of doing that work that I was so ashamed of and now I’m not afraid to call myself a writer even though I make no money from writing. That’s the irony of it; when I was making money as an artist, I felt like a fraud…
I call myself a writer now, because that’s what I am; I write, so I am a writer. I write daily. It’s a compulsion, I get jittery when I can’t write, like I’m an addict. This is the main reason I buy so many notebooks, why I have so many notes in my phone. I can’t seem to just have a coffee or even do a yoga class without having the wherewithall to write down everything that pops into my head. Writers write, it’s that simple. Making money has nothing to do with it. Publishing has nothing to do with it. I don’t think it’s crucial to even have an audience…it’s the act of writing that makes you a writer.
July Camp Nanowrimo starts tomorrow, 1st July, 2019. Can you believe it’s halfway through the year already? This is first time I’ve done a lot of preparation. I already have about 5000 words in notes that I will start to make sense of tomorrow. I’ve discovered that this is what most people do. True to type, I have always been a purist; smashing out the words pantster style each time Camp Nano or Nano rolls around. I’m normally exhausted by the end of the month and thoroughly fed up with the project. But obviously there is great value in smashing out a first draft and then putting it away in the bottom drawer (because you can no longer stand the sight of it!)
If you’re doing Camp Nano this July, good luck and happy writing.
Have you discovered the work of Atticus yet? The Canadian poet is releasing his third book in December. It’s divine. I can open any page and something will reach out and speak to me.
“Publishing has nothing to do with it.” Emily Dickinson would so agree with you.
Then I am in very good company ☺️
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