… a thought making crooked all that is straight.

To write … or to be “a writer”?

The end of March, all of April and part of May were a write-off. My M.E. and reactive hypoglycemia flared up so I was bed-bound for around 15 -20 hours of every day. Hell. Things stabilised in May, although “stable” to me still means “affected every day by my illnesses”. Sadly I had to come off the raw vegan diet in order to reach some kind of balance again. I still hope to go back to it, or perhaps just to the transition diet, popularly known as Raw till 4, but at the moment I’m just trying to crack down on being vegan as it’s tough giving up dairy completely.

My writing has picked up. I am working through a poetry course at the moment, learning about form and structure as well as content. I am half-way through the course and already see an improvement in my poetry (none of it is published yet on my poetry blog). Today I wrote a sonnet pastiche on Tennyson’s “If I were loved as I desire to be”. I’m pleased with the result. I get such a buzz from writing the main draft of a poem or from getting a lot of editing work done. I’m currently working on one of the main submissions for the course, a poem about the deep sea. So far I have 14 pages of draft work for a 35 line poem.

Feedback from friends on my recent writing has been good, although they are always supportive and vocal in encouraging my work. Feedback from the other course participants is … interesting; peer criticism forms about 50% of the course and I’m finding it difficult to offer constructive criticism. In private I gasp, “Oh my god, that’s awful!” or “Wow! I love it!” and that’s about as constructive as it gets. I’m not yet in the right frame of mind to take their poetry apart and offer helpful, critical suggestions. This latter ability will soon get some practice as I’ve joined a local writers’ group and we will be holding co-writing sessions but also critiquing sessions. The challenge is to learn to offer criticism but also to take it. At least all this literary criticism is toughening me up. What does surprise me is when I encounter someone who is “published” but whose writing is pretty dire … then I think, “Hey, I’m not quite as crap as they are, maybe I could do that too!” The main difference between us is less the quality of work and more the extent of self-belief. THEY believe they are writers and self-identify as such. I keep viewing myself as a dabbler, and even though (in my opinion) some of my writing is better than theirs, I pull back from calling myself “a writer” because it smacks of delusions of grandeur. But maybe I need to be a little more grand and a little more deluded if I’m ever going to make anything of my writing!

©StarofSeshat 2013

4 responses

  1. What matters is that you are pushing forward and not allowing personal circumstances to be an excuse. I admire your courage to continue to evolve yourself. From reading your previous blogs you always wrote elegantly. There is no reason not to call yourself a writer. The benefit of calling yourself a writer is that you will grow the self believe needed to realize the dream. I hope to see much more of your writing on your blog.

    June 3, 2013 at 8:10 pm

  2. Thank you for your encouragement. I guess I pause a little before applying the term “writer” to myself because I believe in some ways that you should be a career writer before calling yourself a writer, otherwise I might as well call myself a model because I too wear clothes 😉 Lol … sadly, I am no model, but I do endeavour to be a writer!

    June 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm

  3. Kathy Beyond

    Lovely Seshat, I had to learn exacty the same in a very hard way.
    Please let me tell you: Not writing for career. Writing for itself. Writing for yourself. Writing because you love it, you need it, you want it. =)
    And I tell you again: If you do it with passion and the necessary seriousness, with respect and love, always willing to learn and develop, then you are a real and a professional writer. It’s a profession, not a job. I’m assured YOU ARE a writer. And I believe in you. =)
    (sorry for my grammar, I’m not a native english 😉 )

    June 3, 2013 at 10:47 pm

  4. Hello Beautiful Kathy, I take your words onboard as you’re the “real deal” when it comes to writers. Thank you so much for your support. It does mean a lot to me! 🙂

    June 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm

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