Thursday, 12 September 2013

Curse of the creative brain

Visiting friends showed us some stunning ceramic pieces they'd bought but which the artist had wanted to give away (they insisted on buying them!), having deemed them 'rejects'.

Lack of confidence in the work we produce is not limited to ceramic artists. We writers also find our inner gremlins pouring scorn on what we've written. But as Helen Yendall's article 'Bad Rubbish, Good Riddance' in August's edition of Writing Magazine reminds us, even the most experienced writers have  gremlins. She suggests one way of dealing with them is to give them a silly name!

When mine starts muttering (I haven't thought of a name for him, yet!) I reach for my copy of Elizabeth George's book, 'Write Away' ('one novelist's approach to fiction and the writing life'). At the start of each chapter Ms George quotes from her journals, aptly illustrating that self-doubt is not merely the lot of novice authors. 

'What am I doing pretending to be a writer?' she despairs on one occasion, and on another confesses to feelings of inadequacy after reading 'The Constant Gardener' and marvelling at John le Carre's genius.

My favourite entry, though, is the one she wrote after receiving an outstanding review for one of her novels.  Several reviewers had apparently remarked that although they can't wait to read her next book, they're a little scared in case she hasn't maintained the quality of the last one. 'Gee,' she writes. 'They should be on this end of things!'

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