As a writer, one whose life ambition is to write a novel, I often have thoughts of failure. They seep into my mind and coil around my brain, eating away at my positive thoughts until finally, I feel like a failure of the highest degree. (It’s around this time that I grab a bar of salted caramel Lindt and curl up under the duvet.)
Mostly, these dark, dismal thoughts take root because I haven’t written any pages of my life-affirming novel, nor anything else of any virtue. If I’m truly honest, I haven’t even really tried, not really. (It took me five years to settle on my heroine’s name – goodness help me if this equation applies to the rest of the book.)
I have romantic ideas of being a successful novelist (and by successful, I mean I can afford to survive on the money earned by writing books; it’s not about being rich or famous or having said book adapted into a Hollywood movie), and this sometimes results in inactivity, a hazard of trying to achieve too much, too soon. Rather than tentatively taking the steps towards achieving my dream, I focus on the end result and swiftly lose all hope of catching said daydream and making it a reality.
It is at this point I run the risk of being labelled a pity party, but I’ll press on in the hope that I’m not alone in these all-consuming thoughts. Despite the writing I’ve done, and the writing I still do, it’s not enough; as much as I love it, I want more than to knock out blog posts and every-day articles that have no real message, no depth. Even though these lighthearted pieces of writing are fun – and there’s certainly a demand for them to be read – I wish for nothing more than to spend a summer travelling and writing, moving from one inspiring place to the next, making notes in a leather bound journal before typing up page after page. I want to use the letters I know so well, the letters I know better than I know myself, to form words that create meaningful stories with poetic messages that leave the reader thinking about them long after they’ve turned that last page. I love to write; one of the greatest feelings in the world is starting with nothing, taking the words on their own journey, a story of editing until, finally, the piece is whole and I am too.
This satisfying process is a rarity; it’s a pathetic, cliched excuse, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day/week/month/year to spend inside my own head, digging around, uncovering tiny literary treasures. To write something fulfilling, with depth, one needs time – and I don’t mean an hour of no Netflix in the evening. I mean real time – hours, days – because I know that once I start I can’t stop, and interruptions of any kind are unwanted, and dealt with irritably because they generally signify the fizzling out of the lightening bolt inside my mind. Perhaps hoping for a six week solo adventure is setting the bar too high, and – being realistic, not romantic – I should start with a solitary weekend retreat, an unspecified location that oozes inspiration but lacks internet access.
I suppose I’m not alone in these Dementor style thoughts, at least, I hope not. Maybe it’s simply the thought process of any creative mind; forever battling with the fear that we’re not good enough. Could it be that this self depreciating mindset actually is our friend, that it helps us strive to do more, do better, and keep chasing our dreams? Just maybe, we’re not that bad after all.
I’m Wearing: jumper, Poppy Lux at Sugarhill Boutique; jeans, Jasper Conran at Debenhams; trainers, Converse.
Images: Kris Miller