Sunday, 14 October 2007

Stumbles, trips and blips

Sometimes you just can’t say the right thing in fact you can’t seem to write at all! No matter how hard you try all your thoughts seem to shrivel away in the glare from the computer screen. You trip and stumble and rough your words and it all comes out – well, just awful.
When the words you write are full of import they just seem to die and the clarity you had just moments before cannot be transferred to the page. The frustration!
Then…the doubts.
I write for a living, usually it comes out pretty clean, not too much effort but there again I have been writing about the same specialised subject for years. I was thrown the other day by a simple conversation and I tried, unsuccessfully, to explain. The words I wrote just wouldn’t. They came out messy, convoluted, mean, condescending, arrogant, crap!
And suddenly my whole world went up in the air! If I could not explain the basics of a subject that I have been in the heart of for eight years, what sort of writer was I? Obviously not a good one.
I was trained to believe that a good writer, in a few short sentences, should be able to explain everything - and I mean everything - to his or her reader. It is something that I used to pride myself on – in fact something I used to be employed for. No, I wasn’t your leading columnist. No, I wouldn’t be getting by-lines in the nationals but I have/had a reputation for the clarity of my writing.
I’m not so sure now….
Someone sweetly said loads of working mums feel like I do from time to time and that my confidence will return. Well, least I’m writing this again…

9 comments:

Pondside said...

We all have days, or times, when we aren't at our best - or what we think of as our best. All of your writing skills are just where they've always been. From what you've written about your life I'd guess that you are a very busy mother and have to focus a lot of energy on your children and family - energy and focus that have, in the past, been available for your writing. Everything that you need is still there - just let your focus be where it's needed and don't be stressed by this little detour. I'm sure that it will just add another layer of maturity to your writing.

Withy Brook said...

Pondside has summed it up well. Whether it is writing or any other skill, we are not always at our best and all sorts of things affect our performance. Don't worry - you'll soon be back to normal.

Hannah Velten said...

Hi TW - don't be too hard on yourself...as you say, you write for a specialist industry and have acquire a wealth of knowledge about the subject over the years. Trying to explain succinctly to an audience who do not have all of that pre-knowledge takes an awful lot of effot and concentration - you are having to go back to basics...I assume here, you are talking about the warehouses (if not, then disregard all I have said!!!). The worst part of writing for me is putting together book proposals where you have to condense all your knowledge/reading into very few words. Perhaps, as I do, you may find it useful to do a plan first if you are attempting to do something similar in the future - once you have the tools, it makes it easier. Your blog is so well written that there are no problems with your skills AT ALL! Mootia x

Suffolkmum said...

I wish I had a tenth of your clarity and easy style Tattie. I don't do it for a living, but I do know what you mean about the days when it all just comes out wrong. Be kind to yourslef and have a break, deadlines allowing. That might be all it takes. (And actually, as one who knows nothing about your specialist subject, I thought it came across very well!)

FunkyMunky said...

Confidence is such a fragile thing isn't it? One bad day and you doubt your ability, whereas, you should focus on the fact that your excellent reputation has been built over several years ... and won't disappear overnight. I think your writing style is lovely and I'm sure you'll be back to your confident best very soon.

ChrisH said...

Nope - there's nothing wrong as far as I can see. It's not about the writing though, is it? Whatever has caused your blip, may you be over it soon.

Elizabethd said...

Everyone has said it all! I know there are days when I feel tongue tied, after years of lecturing, making educational presentations... It will feel better soon, as my Grandma used to say.

Exmoorjane said...

Tattie...relax. If it's any consolation I am going through exactly the self-same thing. I have a feeling there is something malign to freelance writers in the air at the moment. I too have written about the same thing for years (and - like you I expect -have even written the same feature so many times I run out of ways of saying the same thing). But in the last month or so I can't seem to make sense to myself - let alone anyone else.
Features I would have tossed off without a second thought are taking me days....
Actually I have to say that your blog had made ME feel much better.. So a big thank-you! jx

Milla said...

Ebb and flow, it'll all come back, it always does. Fret not, young weasle.

Go on you know you want to...

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