Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

I declare

on June 6, 2012

I’m a writer!

Everyone who reads this blog will, of course, already know that.  I write here, and I also write here about what else I write, so the declaration isn’t really for you.  Later I have to write it on my Facebook profile or something, too.

Because yesterday evening I signed up to Jeff Goins’ Great Writers Series, a 15-day challenge for people who write to master some new habits with which to develop both their writing and their confidence in it (I think that’s what it’s all about, anyway).  I spotted this on a blogpost by my friend Fiona, who in turn got it from Alice.  I’m not completely sure about it all, as I’ll outline in a minute, but I’ve decided to get on board and see what it’s all about, and blog my way through the challenge.  So, here’s my official badge:


and the first day’s challenge (yesterday’s, as it goes – I’m a little behind) is to declare that because I write, I’m a writer.  It’s part of my identity because it’s part of what I do.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  I love words, and to use words to craft all kinds of writing – poetry, letters, articles – but most of what I write is fiction.  In primary school I was renowned for my long creative writing efforts (the story based on Jabberwocky in top juniors, which I’d been planning for two years since I had to go into the class 7 classroom to get a book, saw their work on the walls and realised I’d have to do the same assignment when I reached that class, took up its own small noticeboard when my own class’s work was displayed!) and at secondary school I regaled my classmates with long episodic pieces – mainly in the form of Mills and Boon-style romances between a doctor and a nurse or a businessman and his secretary (although, interestingly, I’d never read anything remotely like that) – as well as enjoying the creative writing classes in English lessons.  Aged 15 my friends and I wrote a play, loosely based on Virgil’s Aeneid, in which all the characters were frogs (there’s an explanation, but it’s very complicated and to do with a boy) and represented ourselves and others we knew.  I still have that one, in fact.

Over the next couple of years, a series of events gave my self-confidence a serious knock and a minor casualty of that was my writing, which went underground, because I couldn’t trust anyone not to be laughing about me behind my back about anything, including that.  I’m not telling you this to elicit sympathy or anything, and I’m really much better now, 20 years later – it’s just the history of my approach to writing.  The poems and short stories I wrote at university were all kept secret (although I think Southern Daddy saw one or two of them in the end before I lost them in one of the many housemoves I made over that time).  My “novel” and short stories that I write nowadays are for my own benefit – the novel in particular came about as the kind of romantic fiction I really wanted to read but could never quite find.  This blog is semi-anonymous because I’m not sure how I feel about people I know reading what I think.  I hope it makes me more honest.  The only public writing I’ve done since I completed my education is letters of complaint or praise to businesses and product manufacturers.

But I’ve never thought of any of that as a bad thing.  I write first and foremost because I enjoy it, because it’s what I do.  I don’t think I’d ever want to do it for a job because the demands of having to write even when I had nothing to say seem wrong to me.  My writing happens naturally and organically.  When I read Fiona’s post on this subject yesterday, she quoted from Jeff Goins’ e-book The Writers’ Manifesto (free to anyone who subscribes to his e-mail updates) which chimed in with this idea:

“Real writers don’t write for recognition. They don’t do it for fame, accolades or notoriety. They do it because they cannot not write.”

It makes perfect sense, which is why I’m not sure about this first challenge.  If I’m not doing it for fame, accolades or notoriety, what need do I have to declare it to others?  I can understand that it’s something which would make people more confident in some ways, but ultimately I can’t help feeling it goes against the idea that writing is for oneself.

However, I’m taking part because I’m interested to see where it will go, and that involves my declaration.  I’m not sure what this challenge will involve and if I’ll be able to complete all the steps (I have other reservations about writing challenges which I’ve written about here – 5th paragraph) but I’m starting anyway.

So now I have to go and update my Facebook status!


3 responses to “I declare

  1. julia christine stephen says:

    I’m participating too, hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  2. Fiona says:

    Delighted to be doing this with you! xxx

  3. northmum says:

    Hope you both enjoy it too! Really *not* looking forward to tomorrow morning!

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