I write for a living and that, to me, is both a privilege and a pain, because much of what I write is to meet external constraints and demands. I’m not complaining, however, because writing to meet the exacting needs of others is interesting and challenging in its own way, even if it doesn’t fulfil the inner energy I have to write for myself. There are deadlines for both, of course, and the pressures of my own writing sometimes seem overpowering, which will not be a surprise to established authors.
The total immersion in my own story, its tendrils curling in ever greater complexity, has its own particular power, which non-fiction writing cannot match: coffee and tea go cold in the cup; the postman knocks in vain; the weather storms by unnoticed. Fortunately the boys in the household go about their usual business without me and eat, walk and play happily according to their own inclinations.
The story stalks me and lingers on street corners, at the checkout or down the corridor of the train, just at the edge of vision; sometimes meets me face to face with frightening force. I cannot get it out of my mind and fear that I am losing a sense of proportion. I am afraid of it and yet crave it. The only way to tame it is to put it down… on paper.
2 thoughts on “Putting my story down”
Christina – I’m precisely and exactly the same way about my own writing. And there really is a difference isn’t there between the way one’s own writing envelopes one and the experience of writing to others’ specifications.
Yes, Margot. I’m just pleased to be able to achieve (sometimes!) the balance! Thank you!