is for insecurities and inferiority complex. There are some wonderful perks of belonging to a group of writers like The Write Romantics, but there are some drawbacks, too. They can all write, for a start! It’s the same when you friend a lot of authors on Twitter and Facebook. It’s fabulous to hear their news, read their blogs, share in their triumphs, commiserate when things are going badly. Problem is, they all seem an awful lot better than me – and a whole lot more, well, writerly.
I often hear about writers going on writing holidays. They sound absolutely wonderful. A whole week in a beautiful location abroad, writing in the sunshine. No dreary day job to worry about, no kids calling, no husband demanding more attention – or any attention at all, come to that. Nothing to do but mix with other like-minded people and write. These holidays are very popular and I can quite see why. They’re also expensive, and while I have no doubt that they are worth every penny, they are beyond me at the moment. This year we’re saving hard to rent a caravan in sunny Mablethorpe for a week with the kids and grandkids, so I think if I announced I was heading to the continent for a few days of sunshine, wine and creative contemplation, they would all take a pretty dim view of it. And that’s part of the problem, because sometimes, writing seems like such a middle class thing to do.
A lot of the people I speak to on social media seem to lead such glamorous lives. They live in beautiful locations, in fabulous houses, and write full time or have very good jobs. They are at great pains to assure the rest of us that their life is far from glamorous and that they are just “ordinary” people, and I’m sure they are. Just that their definition of ordinary may not match mine.
I’m actually glad to read about such people. It matches the idea I formed in my head when I was a little girl, thoroughly entranced by the works of Enid Blyton. Everything I read about her seemed about as far removed from my own life as it was possible to be. And that’s what gave me the idea that writers should be ethereal creatures, living in country houses, attending village fetes, giving out prizes, wafting around with their heads full of their imaginary characters, while real life carried on around them, having nothing to do with them and not interrupting their creativity in any shape or form. Or living in wonderful houses like Menabilly in Cornwall, and having lives of great adventure like Daphne du Maurier, or intrigue and mystery like Agatha Christie, who mysteriously vanished for a few days only to turn up safe and well at a hotel in Harrogate but never spoke of the incident again.
That’s why I find it so difficult to say, “I’m a writer.” In spite of the fact that I have been writing stories since I was a little girl at primary school. In spite of the fact that I have this blog. In spite of the fact that I have a Facebook page which clearly states, Sharon Booth, Writer. In spite of the fact that I have a short story published in an anthology. In spite of the fact that I have a full-length novel for sale on Amazon. In spite of the fact that Book Two is ready and booked to go to an editor. In spite of the fact that I’m working on Book Three and have a whole list of plots for further books. Yes, and even in spite of the fact that I devote far more hours every day to my writing than I do to my actual paid job – the job that pays the rent and bills. Even with all that, I still feel that I’m a fraud. Because, in my own head, I just don’t live up to the image I have of A Writer.
I don’t know what it will take for me to actually believe that I deserve to call myself that. I don’t think I ever will believe that I’m the sort of person who can take writing holidays. I doubt very much that I’ll ever own a beautiful home in the country or even be able to write full time. Writing is just not the same as it once was. The days when it was easy to make a living from writing books seem like a distant memory, something I dreamed when I was still a child, smitten with the idea of being Enid Blyton.
I remember seeing Milly Johnson on Come Dine With Me and being totally over the moon because she had a Yorkshire accent! She was the first writer I’d heard who didn’t speak with a “posh” voice, and I loved her for it. When I first met my fellow Write Romantics, Alex and Julie, I was dismayed to find that they spoke so nicely. There was me with my broad Hull accent, and they didn’t even sound as if they were from Yorkshire at all. I felt terribly inferior and tried very hard to speak correctly, sounding my aitches and trying to concentrate on the way I was speaking. It was horrible! After getting to know them better, I stopped bothering. It put me on edge, and they seemed to like me anyway. Now I’m just me, and if they’ve been wondering what on earth happened to my voice, well, now they know!
I’m very aware that this says a lot more about me than it does about anyone else. It’s an inferiority complex that I’ve had for years, and I have to work on it and stop hiding away. I also have to accept that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from all classes, all backgrounds, and, for the most part, are lovely, normal people with as many insecurities and anxieties as anyone else. I wish that someone had told me when I was young that you don’t have to be upper or middle class to write. I may have believed in myself and in the possibility that I could be a writer many years ago. I hope that today’s children are being taught that if it’s what they want to do they should go for it! In the meantime, I have a new mission – building up the self-esteem! If I work hard enough, who knows, one day I may even see myself like this! 😉
Have a great day xx
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