Archive for writing

Something here sucks.

Posted in complaining, Overthinking stuff, writing with tags , , , on August 15, 2012 by cuttydarke

So I’ve written 17,649 words of fiction and published them as a serial novel online. It’s about half way through.  Some people like it and I think it’s pretty good but not enough people are reading it.

Which is leaving me with kind of a problem. I’ve written stuff online before but I never used to care much about who read it. In fact I often take measures to reduce the numbers of people reading it because most of what I’ve written up to now has been either for my pleasure or just to get the stuff out of my head.

So I’ve finally got round to writing in the hope that other people will read it and I don’t know what to do about that. I post something new every weekday. I try to keep the length in that sweet spot that’s long enough to satisfy without being too long to read on a screen but to be honest I have no idea what that is. I try to finish with a cliffhanger but I don’t really know how well they’re working.

So part of the problem is that I’m getting no feedback. Which is largely because no-one is reading the fucking thing. And I don’t know why that is. The few people who read it regularly, I know of 4, seem to like it quite a lot. Some of them donated money to keep me writing it when my laptop got damaged. Therefore some people like it quite a lot which is great. But if only 4 people in the entire world like my writing then I have no future as a writer.

My big question is this: Is the problem that my writing sucks or is the problem that I suck?

Is the reason that more people don’t read it that most of the people who read it once don’t come back? Or is it that most people never follow the link to the blog because no matter how many times I wave it in front of their faces they don’t care and they have no faith in any link I post?

Either way it’s not a comforting thought. Either my writing sucks or I do.

I don’t know what to do. Stopping would be really easy but at the moment it’s the only thing that gives my days any shape. I could just give up on posting the links and then I can pretend that no-one reads it because I’m not publicising it but then what’s the point at all.

Am I still a writer if no-one ever reads it?

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Can you hear the silence?

Posted in complaining, Overthinking stuff, writing with tags , , , , , , , on February 7, 2010 by cuttydarke

On Thursday I had a breakdown.  Which sounds very melodramatic.  I am not myself now but I have to be back by Sunday night, or Monday morning.  Or Tuseday at the very latest.  I have to be well enough to pretend to cope.

And now it’s very quiet in my head most of the time.  Except for the screaming.

It’s not usually quiet in my head.  I don’t mean that I hear voices in the schizophrenic sense or that I have a head full of personalities struggling for control of my body.  I mean that there are always narratives and observations going on in there.   I’m always thinking about stuff.  And I can always hear that thinking and the other thinking about the thinking.

I suppose that means I really am a writer.  Weather I like it or not.

But at the moment things are different.  It’s very quiet in here.  There must be thinking going on but I don’t hear it.  If there’s a narrative then it’s hiding from me.  The only thing I do hear, and I don’t hear it all the time, is the screaming.  And the comentary on the screaming.  Because some things don’t change.

The screaming breaks out occasionally.  Most of the screaming isn’t words it’s just noise. It’s just an incoherent cry of rage and pain.  And a quiet voice talking over it telling me that a part of me is screaming.  The occasional words break through the scream but it’s mostly swearing and seems to be directed nowhere in particular.  I am angry at everyone and everything and especially myself.

Being angry with myself is nothing new.  I usually am and I have been for as long as I can remember.  Even as a small child with some adult screaming at me for some bullshit, as angry as I was with them, I was angrier at myself for my weakness.  I wanted to stand up for myself.  I wanted to be big.  I wanted to be big enough to talk back and make them stop.  But even then there was another voice.  The one that was angry with me for having got myself into whatever situation had led to the shouting.

Well I succeeded in making myself big.  But it didn’t really help.  Talking back only ever seemed to make things worse.  And I couldn’t stop making mistakes, doing things wrong, being the wrong person.

Because I was always the wrong person.  I was never who people thought I was.  I was never the person I was supposed to be and I was always coming up short and I didn’t understand why.  To me it seemed like I was only being myself.  Why did people keep expecting me to be someone else?

I still don’t really know the answer to that question.

I know that I was always a disappointment to my father.  Worse than that I was proof of his failure.  It was painful for him to look at me and it hurt me to see him feel that pain.  I’m not entirely sure what he wanted but it certainly wasn’t me.  I suppose he wanted me to have his work ethic.  He wanted me to be the way he thought women should be.  Maybe he wanted me to be more like my Mum.  Or his Mum.  Or just less me.

He wanted me to be thin.  He wanted me to be sane.  He wanted me to have a job, or a husband with a job.  He wanted me to be normal.

I don’t know what normal is.  I don’t know anyone normal.

My Dad’s dead now.  So I’ve lost my chance to make him proud.  I wish I could have told him that he wasn’t a failure.  He couldn’t make me the person he thought I should be in his lifetime but the fight goes on.  One of the voices in my head, which is currently strangely silent but I’m sure it will be back, was his.  So even now he’s dead there’s still a part of him pointing out to me how I’ve fallen short, or been selfish, or asked for too much, or been lazy.  And you can’t punch a dead man.  So I’ve lost my chance to do that too.  Sometimes I feel like digging him up to have a crack so it’s probably a good thing I can’t actually get to his grave.

Did I say that out loud?

I think my Mother’s voice was in there too but it always sounded more like me.  I only knew it was her because it was the one telling me that I’m my own worst enemy.  She always used to tell me that.  I’m sure she still thinks that thought it’s been years since she said it to my face.

It’s true enough though.  Almost all my problems are self inflicted.  Most of the ones that aren’t are exacerbated by my inability to withstand them properly.  She is sure that I am not my Mother’s daughter.  I am not enough like her.

Do I want to be like her?  I wish I felt certainty like she seems to.  I almost never feel certainty.  Doubt is far more my thing.  I do a good impression of certainty but then I do a lot of impressions.

What passes for my personality is really just a bundle of impressions.  It’s all just me pretending.  I pretend to be sure about things.  I pretend to cope.  I pretend to be organised.  I pretend to be competent.  I pretend to be interested and interesting.  About the only thing I don’t pretend about is writing.  I really do write.  All the time.  I have done for years.  Most of the time I don’t know what I think about something till I start to write it down.

So not only am I still not the right person, even according to my own standards, I’m not really a person at all.  I’m a bundle of voices suspended between a mobile phone, a netbook and a moleskin notepad.  I write therefore I am.  I’m just not sure what that is.  What was the question again?

Resolution

Posted in News, writing with tags , , on January 1, 2010 by cuttydarke

It’s been far too long since I wrote anything here and I’m told that blogging Resolutions is the thing that all the cool kids are doing this year.  So I thought I’d blow that theory by joining in.

  1. The first resolution, obviously is to blog more, and probably tweet more too.  With the proviso that I’m only going to do it if I actually have something to say.
  2. I sit on my arse too much and therefore I will try to get some exercise at least 3 times a week.
  3. I keep claiming to be a writer so I will finish one of my novels and send it to an agent.
  4. I will be more organised around the house.

And for an encore I will heal the sick, feed the hungry and restore sight to the blind.

You know what the trouble with me is…

Posted in writing with tags , , on August 9, 2009 by cuttydarke

I’ve been thinking hard about why the rejection from the University hurt so much and what that means for me and it occurs to me that I am particularly sensitive to rejection.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I get rejected a lot.  You’d think that I’d be used to it by now and that I wouldn’t care but I clearly do.  In fact the more I think about it the more sure I am that I care a lot.  I’ve been assuming that my problem is a fear of failure combined with chronic laziness but I now realize that I’m not lazy at all and I’m scared of something else.

Look at my record at NaNoWriMo.  If I was scared of failure then why did I ever try?  Why did I keep going when it got tough?  If I’m lazy then why pick something that’s such hard work?  Why do I relish the work?  Why did I seek out the extra challenge of becoming Municipal Liaison?  NaNoWriMo is like an exam.  You either pass or fail.  You either hit 50,000 words in time or you don’t and it’s entirely up to you.  Success or failure is not subjective, you can’t be judged by other people and they can’t take it away from you.

I like exams and tests and puzzles.  Maybe I like them because they can’t reject me.  Either I’m right or I’m wrong.  Either pass or fail.  I succeed or fail because of my ability.  It doesn’t matter what I look like or how I dress or who I know or my social ineptitude or my past failures or successes.

But writing isn’t a test.  The quality of writing is almost entirely subjective.  I love the work of William Gibson but my husband, who has very similar tastes, can’t stand him and that’s the problem.  Even the best writers get rejected.  They get rejected a lot before they find the right agent/publisher.  And you don’t find an agent/publisher unless you put your work out there ready for rejection.

I think this is the real reason I’ve never finished any of my novels to my own satisfaction.  It they were finished I’d have to send them off for someone to reject.  And reject.  And then reject some more.  And because rejection is so common I wouldn’t even be able to throw the towel in and say “That’s it.  I’m a terrible writer.”

So how do I deal with this fear?  How can I truly be a writer when I can’t bare to send my work out to face rejection?

New Article

Posted in News with tags , , on May 26, 2009 by cuttydarke

Not much to tell just a picture I took and some words about it. Don’t feel you have to follow this link but if you haven’t already you should check out some of my other articles because some of them are actually quite good.

Aberdeen Interlude

Geeking out

Posted in Kids, News with tags , , , on February 3, 2009 by cuttydarke

I’ve just published a new article on Triond about how my Geekyness affects my parenting.

Watching the Doctor

I’m Back

Posted in Crochet, News with tags , , on September 5, 2008 by cuttydarke

I have returned.

Well actually I was never away. I’ve just been busy crocheting and finishing a novel. Well I say finishing what I mean is editing and by editing I mean getting it ready to send out to agents.

I thought I was ready but not quite yet. I have discovered a hole in the middle of the thing. I know how to fill it but I was really getting into avoiding sending it out. Now I shall have to switch to avoiding writing it.

On the upside I did my first craft fair last Sunday and it didn’t suck. I even made a small profit and learned how to make a larger profit for next time.