Wednesday, 26 March 2014


16:11:00 Posted by Lindsay , , 3 comments
As a nervous person I live in a perpetual state of fear, particularly as a writer. I fear that whatever I write isn't going to be good enough, that it is never good enough. I used to write for my own enjoyment as a teen, nowadays I feel a little paralysed by it. When I get into the right conditions for it though, my enjoyment comes back, and I get that thrill again that I used to. 

Workshops, coursework and actually forcing myself to do it put me in the position of actually enjoying it again. But reading it out in front of people? Erk. I find it terrifying, a little like baring my soul to everyone for it to be picked at. I recently read something quite close to my heart at the last DGP open mic, and scared as I was, it did help me. I received a lot of feedback about my writing, and the majority of it helpful. It also put me in the position to read my work as it would be to a new reader. You know that feeling you get when your house is a tip and you see it through a guest's eyes as soon as they walk through the front door? It's a little like that. It showed me massive gaping areas in my work and helped me make it better. So yes, although I was so afraid I was shaking, it helped my work. As the old cliche says, feel the fear and do it anyway. But don't post it on t'interwebs, those folk are ruthless. 


Colin Davies said...

Don't feed the fear, feed off it.

You are so right. You have to look at you work as though someone else is reading it, that is where I find my madness helps me so.

But also you need to be brave, not just in reading out, or even letting others see it, but to understand which comments will help the work, and which you feel are totally wrong because they're not getting the idea.

Everyone has the big idea about someone else's work. Be brave to know what you want, use the fear to find trust. That trust finds you your editor and how to work with them.

Christo said...

Thinking back, I have been fortunate to have confident and outgoing parents when I learned to talk and walk, and picked up their valuing my abilities.
I also had very good teachers at both junior and grammar school who were there to encourage and pass on knowledge, not to make us feel inadequate. Too many teachers frighten pupils into silence.

Do you practise "reading aloud" anything you have written, Lindsay ?

It used to amuse my late wife that when I had completed a piece of writing I will declaim it if it is to be for audience entertainment .

My excuse ?

If it was good enough for Dylan Thomas to do, it is good enough for me. Only by "reading aloud" do we get to judge whether the rhythm works and to overcome any oddities of pronunciation too.

I hope the Dead Goods audience are kind enough not to make you feel uneasy.

vicky ellis said...

There weren't any gaping holes! It was a bloody marvellous piece of writing that pulled me right in and I can't wait to hear more. It had a wonderful sense of atmosphere and tension. There was only a small tweak needed to clarify something at the beginning but it all worked very well IMO.

I agree with Christo about reading out loud. So important. Especially for dialogue. So much dialogue is stilted and unnatural. Writing is not the spoken word but that's where it comes from and, ultimately, the readers will be reading the words as if they were heard in their heads. Definitely got to sound right out loud.