What stops you writing?


If you’d asked me at the end of last year, I’d have said ‘nothing’. Rather smugly in fact. I would have pointed to the times my computer fritzed out, my internet connection disappeared, I found myself in foreign places with nothing but scrap paper and pencil ends, and still wrote.

How are the mighty fallen.

I have discovered that one thing stops me writing. Unexpected success.

Since 1 January, I’ve had four acceptances – one a solicitation even - and it’s thrown me for a loop. My words just stopped dead. It’s been very odd. And it’s not as if I’m not used to a reasonable level of success, but it seems the unexpectedness of it sent all my own neuroses into a happy little spin, in which they sang ‘Oh, that’s as good as it gets, you’ll never have a week like this again’ out loud in my head until I couldn’t write.

Well, it’s probably true. A week in which one receives four acceptances must surely be rarer than a hen’s tooth. So why did I go into misery mode, rather than celebrating this rare event? Because of that voice that most writers hear, at some time, the voice that says ‘See, you’ve had the best of it. It’s all downhill from now. You’ll never write/perform/edit that well again. You’ll never get four acceptances in a week again …’ And so on, until the writer curls up in a ball and watches TV repeats until he or she dribbles.

So a few words appeared today. And I’ve blogged. And tomorrow it’s back to the routine, whether or not I get an acceptance, whether or not I get a rejection, whether or not the voice turns up in my head to tell me the worst case scenario - I am going to write.

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