Monday, 12 January 2009

Facing Defeat

What happens if things don't go well? I've been pondering it today for various reasons, how we deal with losing, and our dreams not coming true. I caught the tail-end of a Radio 4 talk about 'Slum-dog Millionaire', a new film about a young man who lives in the slums of Mumbai and wins Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
We're conned into thinking that on a toss of a coin all our dreams can come true. Is that it? Heads I win, tails I lose? Everything?
I wonder, at what point (on a personal level) will I ever become immune to fear of failure? Does JK Rowling awake at nights sweating thinking "OMG! No-one will buy my book!"
Okay, highly unlikely, but there may be something. Her's I think will be whatever she does next, can it possibly reach the same heights as Pottermania?
If my writing career (such that it is) never takes off, would I be able to just shrug, say it was fun while it lasted, then go back to the day job?
Part of me would love to know I had the grace to do just that, but then part of me wonders if I had that attitude, where it didn't matter, what worth would my achieving anything be?
Are we're addicted to 'crash and burn' success? The image that, overnight, our world can be made glorious summer, but just as quickly become discontented winter.
This goes back to rejections. How can you not take it personally? I know I did. I expected them, but they still had an impact. Oh God, and soon I'll be faced with REVIEWS. Aargh!!
Writing is so bloody difficult. Every line is fraught with dangerous decisions, and you're stumbling through with a heady mix of creative highs and critical dread. Even if you've mapped the river you're swimming down there are rapids, deep waters, waterfalls and blind corners. Too fast you crash, too slow you sink, too much of this, not enough of that.
Sorry for a slightly rambling blog but to end I will say this: I swear, the next person who tells me they've wanted to write a book or that it must be easy being at home and just tapping at the keyboard for a living I WILL EAT THEIR LIVERS!


Stevyn Colgan said...

Reviews. Oh yes. You have to take them as you take people - everyone has an opinion. The frustration is that some people's opinions are (apparently) more important than others. You'll be fine.

Tracy said...

I think a dose of self-doubt can be a good thing because it helps inspire us to make it the best we can. The fine line is not letting it tip us into crippling self-doubt where we become immobilised by our own fear.
I was going to comment on the reviewing and critic side of things on my blog -watch this space - shameless plug!!
I suppose that when you're a writer or a creative person, there is the almost constant fear of the unknown because each piece you produce has yet to be received into the big, wide world.
I think several people have shown you that you have something special - hold onto that and only read the good reviews. (Not that there'll be any bad I'm sure.)

Will be in touch very soon - nearly all computer issues resolved just have to find my sanity then I'll email probe you. Ooh er, sounds painful!!

Jon M said...

" A vale of tears" was the expression used by a mutual friend. Which it can be but then I guess you have to balance your doubts and worries with the image of reaching your winter years thinking, 'what if?' or 'if only.' Far worse if you ask me.
Someone who didn't know I wrote said to me once: 'We should write a kids' book, it can't be that hard.' I too reached for the chianti...

SarwatC said...

Jon, If you did happen to kill anyone who said that, I think a jury of your peers would probably find you innocent on the grounds of justifiable homicide.
Tracy, Looking forward to, I can't say it, sod it, I can...probed by you.

lindsey-leavitt said...

Mmm liver. I'd like one of the vampire variety for every person who asks if I'm the next Stephenie Meyer because I'm a YA writing mom.
Never mind, keep the liver. Why yes, yes I am the next SM.

SarwatC said...

Tween vampire princesses? There must be a market for those!
Never did finish Twilight, but did enjoy the movie. Hmm, vampire baseball.
Saw your blog on the editorial boxes, I had whole chapters of those!