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. :-)