While every aspiring writer believes they can write, many become overwhelmed by the tide of rejection and failure to achieve literary stardom. I believe I can write. I’ve had this confirmed by clients and employers. However, when I write for myself, I suffer from spectacular paranoia and believe every sentence to be complete and utter dross. Until I come back to the same piece, months and maybe even years later, and find that I like it. I’ve completely forgotten what I wrote before and I want to know what happens next.
Unfortunately, in the past I have failed to realise this and I’ve not continued the story. This is most frustrating. I’ve tried to pick up a few of these pieces and continue onward, but my mind has moved on from what it was six months or six years ago. The inspiration that flooded me at the time has gone and I don’t remember what it was. I am a different person.
I know I can write, when I’m avidly reading my own past works and desperately want to know what happens next, I know that I can tell a page-turning story. I have learned my lesson regarding my failure to finish things. Even if the work never finds a publisher, I need to finish things because ten years down the line I may be in a position to self-publish, or the work may find an enthusiastic agent.
I am fortunate that I also have the belief of my partner. While he is not a literary critic, he reads and knows what he likes. I could never have started my self-employment, dedicated my time to writing, and believed in myself enough to take these steps without his support and his belief in me. This website was his idea, he threatened to steal my work and publish it for me if I didn’t do it. There can be no greater fear than to have an unedited piece published. I can barely read my own handwriting so there is no end to the travesty that may occur if someone else tried to transcribe it.
Belief is also essential while writing, whether factual or fictitious, you have to believe that what you are writing will be informative, entertaining, thought provoking and, when writing fiction, you have to believe in your characters.
It has taken a long time to get to this point in my life, to reach the point of believing and knowing. There are still times now when the compulsion to write far outweighs my belief in the writing, when my only belief is that everything is an accumulation of crap. It is then that my husband’s belief exceeds my own and pushes me to justify his faith in me.
They say that ‘seeing is believing’, but sometimes you have to believe in order to see.