I like listening to writers being interviewed. I especially love listening to zadie smith and george saunders.
one of my mates says, ‘enough talking about writing, bates. just do the writing.’
I am not that brave, or strong or confident, or whatever it is that one is when they can just write and not talk (or listen to other people talk) about the process.
one thing I heard in one of the interviews, was an author say that the first book they wrote was bad, and of course it was going to be bad, and why did they ever think it wasn’t going to be? before we are good at something, we are bad at it. I struggle with this.
I am a reluctant perfectionist. being perfectionistic just means being afraid. this can be a good thing sometimes, like at work, if I’m making something, I want it to be perfectly realised and this makes me push harder to make it happen.
but to get better we have to take risks, and to take risks means there’s going to be some failure and I don’t like to fail, I always want to hit the mark on my first try.
In high school I was the kind of kid who would rip all the pages out of her exercise book rather than keep sub-standard pages in. I seriously had exercise books that only had one page in them. I’ve watched my daughter do something similar, and she’s only five. is this her innate nature, or did she learn it from me? probably both.
the other day I was playing cards with her. she didn’t win on the first round, and she went off in a sulk. I said to her, ‘when we lose, we try again. if it’s something we want, we keep trying. if we’re not in the game, we can’t win.’ she came back. we played a few more hands. sometimes she won.
I might not be writing a very good book, but I am writing it.