‘The Fear’ (A Sudden Lack of Confidence)

Guatemaln worry peopleI’m off to a writing day tomorrow (held quarterly and strictly ‘by invitation only’!). Eek! And as usual I am procrastinating like crazy because I have ‘The Fear’ about reading out my work to be critiqued by 5 other writers! (two of whom are published novelists – so I should be pleased really, shouldn’t I?!).

I need some of these little ‘worry people’ from Guatemala to take my cares away…

Anyway, as NaNoWriMo draws to a close (and well done all of you that ‘won’ by completing the 50,000 words before the end of the month– my writing buddy Sally Jenkins amongst them!), I can at least say that I’m taking the ‘start of my novel’ (!) to read out tomorrow, which is the first time I’ve ever done that (usually I take a short story which gets… er.. nicely ‘ripped to pieces’).

I was reading one of the NaNoWriMo ‘pep talks’ today (and even if you have no intention of every doing NaNo, they’re worth reading) and writer Holly McGhee said something that really struck a chord with me: “Sometimes if you haven’t touched your laptop in a while, you begin to fear it. You’re afraid to start typing and you’re afraid not to start typing. Writing becomes a stranger—and without realizing it, you’ve closed the door on your closest friend, your imagination.”

Oh, this is so true! I haven’t been writing every day (yes, I have failed NaNo) and when I should have been working on my novel for tomorrow’s writing day, I kept putting it off and then, I definitely began to ‘fear it’. Weird, isn’t it? Because tonight I’ve done 2 hours of work on it (another couple to go, I reckon!) and it wasn’t that bad.

Other Stuff:

On a different note, if you fancy winning a Sue Moorcroft ‘Writing A Romantic Novel’ workshop in London, worth £150, have a look here

The winner of the last Good Housekeeping novel writing competition has just had her novel published!

And, even better news for the rest of us – Good Housekeeping is launching its next novel writing competition in the January 2014 issue (which will be out in December). I will report more when I get a copy of the magazine in my sticky little hands!

And, finally, unlike some competitions, which drive me crazy (Bridport, take a bow) because they publish the results and the judges’ reports but NOT the winning entries (because they want you to buy the anthology), Wells Literary Festival have published the results of their poetry, novel and short story competitions and ALSO published the winners of the short story and poetry categories.

I’ve only read the story that came first (‘Erosion’ by Barbara Leahy) and I can see why Della Galton, the judge, chose it. It’s well worth a read.

Hmm, and when I googled the author to find out more, it turns out she ‘started writing short stories in 2010’.. Nooo, please tell me that’s not true!!

Have a good weekend, everyone! I will hopefully be back to ‘full confidence’ levels next time! x

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5 Responses to ‘The Fear’ (A Sudden Lack of Confidence)

  1. Wendy says:

    Remember, Helen, there is a good reason why you were invited and I’m sure you will get some great feedback. Mind you, I know I would be shaking in my boots if I were in your shoes… but then again I am a cowardy custard.

  2. Julia says:

    Wendy’s right. Hold your head up, grasp the nettle, seize the day, and other such cliches – and don’t forget to breathe out.

  3. Tracy Fells says:

    Well done on starting the novel, Helen. Don’t fret about NaNoWriMo and just keep writing. But I know what you mean about the fear. I find all sorts of excuses not to work on my novel, but once I get into it everything goes well. I also recently bought kindle version of Fish anthology – this has saved me money in the long run as it completely put me off entering this year and wasting another 20 euros on the entry fee (steep!). The winning stories were all so dismally depressing I couldn’t finish most of them. If that’s what the judges are looking for then it wasn’t worth me entering.

  4. julielees says:

    You are a talented writer, Helen, whether it be in short story form, blog or magazine article. Keep the faith!

  5. Jenny Roman says:

    It’s true, about “the fear” – I get that sometimes. Then I think of a course I went on at work a long time ago. It was about time management, but one of the things it covered was reluctance to start a task you’re dreading. We were told, say to yourself “I’ll just do 5 minutes. I’ll just make a start.” And it works. Sometimes you only do the 5 minutes. But often, you get absorbed, and end up doing much more. Even if you don’t, at least you’ve broken the block and it’s not quite so scary the next time.

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