Feeling really really morose

Could it be the many signs of approaching autumn up here? Nights getting darker, the advent of the coal man with several bags of smokeless fuel at alarming prices, (dear God, now the environment police will be after me, but we live in a listed building with chimneys and yes, it's very well insulated, because we're poor.) The garden looks tired and sad. Me too, me too.
Spend my working days robbing Peter to pay Paul in terms of time. Writing endless lists. Not doing half the things on them. Working late at night when I should be sleeping. And at the moment, not really taking the pleasure in the work that I should. When you're a young writer, I think you have this faith that one day it'll all happen. You think it'll be enough to learn your craft and work hard. You'll have a success, and be able to build on it.
Well I've been writing for forty years now. I've won awards for plays and poetry, had plays produced to rave reviews, had novels and non fiction books published, and I still find that nothing changes. There's no sense of a career progression. Not only that, but I think that the constant struggle to be produced, published and publicised has encroached on the very real joy in the work that I used to know. Oh. And I've got repetitive strain from using a mouse, and my shoulder is giving me gyp, so there. Does this explain the uncharacteristically jaded posts of late? Well maybe.
All I know is that I seem to have lost the knack of writing for its own sake. Well, maybe it's lurking there. And I know it'll come back again. Just that for the moment, I think I need to do the snail thing, retreat into my shell, and think hard about where next and why.


Anonymous said…
Hi Catherine.

I think this "career progression" problem can be common to all the arts. A lot of female actresses struggle at particular ages, but if they can persist and survive the rough and sparse work patches can end up lauded later on.

Recovering a sense of your own connection with writing is surely the important thing. What does "career progression" really mean, after all at the end of the day.

How about freshening up with a small project that isn't dependent on others, or even going off for a residential course or something to refire the engines?

Hope you feel better soon.

Hello Duckling and thank-you for the positive comment. It all helps! I suppose what I mean by career progression is that some writers with far less of a track record seem to be finding it much easier than me. But perhaps 'seem' is the important word here, since so often when you actually talk to people who you think are extremely successful, you discover that they are having just as much of a struggle in all kinds of ways! All looks yellow to the jaundiced eye and because writers are essentially solitary people, it can often seem that everyone else is getting it right while you yourself are definitely getting it wrong! And you are absolutely right that a project that doesn't depend on others, but just allows me to rediscover the joy in writing, for no particular reason, and with very little aim other than the writing itself, the 'doing' of it for its own sake (a zen project, in other words!) is definitely the way forward. And at the moment, that lies with poetry I think.