Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Well, I am really supposed to be working on my novel right now - only two and half days til my kids break up from school!! - but what does any procrastinating writer do when they hit a wall? Blog! So, here I am.
Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to participate in a brilliant masterclass at the Victorian Writers' Centre run by Antoni Jach, with a formidably talented and incredibly supportive bunch of fellow writers and, in the days following the course, boy, you couldn't stop me! I was churning out those words. But then, as to be expected, I had one crap day of writing and suddenly all my momentum goes down the drain. Now I approach my computer with a horrible mixture of fear and trepidation. When I read back over all those thousands of words that spilled out of me, will I be horrified to discover that they are all crap! That really, I have no idea what I am doing or where I am going?
I don't know about other writers but I constantly swing between feeling like a genius and a complete waste of space. There doesn't seem to ever be much in between. It's such a deeply personal and vulnerable thing to write, even if you are doing so behind the veil of fiction, that I find it almost impossible to be able to judge my work myself. Apparently, according to Antoni, writers become better at this over time - but this self-awareness and confidence is unfortunately still a long way off for me.
However, I am always comforted by the words of Peter Carey in despairing times like these:
'The whole business of writing is to live with doubt: to do what you don't know how to do, to place yourself continually in a situation of ignorance and inelegance. When you begin writing you're in a basic state of stupidity because you don't know anything.'
I figure if even PC feels like this after all those book sales and awards under his belt, I'm probably not alone.
Have a Merry Christmas everyone and if, like me, you're trying to write with a houseful of kids, my sympathies go out to you. :-)


  1. Hi Sally! I just googled you to find out when you Billie B books were coming out (can't wait to get my hands on them - I'm sensing that they'll be perfect for Mads) and disccovered you have a blog! Hooray! I completely know what you mean about those writing troughs - I get them with everything I work on, and even though I know it's part of it for me, it still sucks. Somewhere through the second draft I start feeling like a big fraud and think 'when the editors read this they'll never let me do another thing.' So far this hasn't been the case, but it's still awful to go through it. Hope you got some work done over Chrissie.

    x Meredith

  2. Hi Meredith,
    Great to hear from you - I am such a fan of your blog - so smart and funny - I was telling Hilary you should publish that kind of stuff in books! Though I suppose there is a certain freedom in writing blogs that you can't get in mainstream publishing. I'm looking forward to seeing Billie in print too - especially as it is the first book I have written that someone else has illustrated! I hope Mads likes them.
    What's the news on your novel?
    Sally x

  3. PS I'm not sure who 'Maney' is but there is one very recognisable English word in all that Chinese, so I'm figuring she's not posting a comment on my kids books!
    Can anyone tell me how I delete this?

  4. LOL! You'll have to go into Comment Moderation, I think it is on Blogspot, Sally, and delete it.

  5. I'm in a second draft trough at the moment, but will push on through it. Have an amazing time in Ghana. What an incredible experience that will be. We're visiting Aus in May - perhaps we can catch up?

  6. Thanks Sheryl! As you can see I am very much an amateur at all this - but trying to keep up with my teenage sons as best as I can!
    Meredith - love to see you in May. Let me know your dates when you have them. Perhaps we can try again for that drink with Hilary?
    Sally x