Finding my voice.


Let’s chronicle my writing near-misses, shall we?

I’ve had two personal referrals to big, big agents. From an author I adore.

I’ve had an Oscar and BAFTA award winner offer to read a manuscript to see if it could be transformed into film, with the added offer of introducing me to a few directors. Or just the opportunity for her to read it as a more informed, critical reader.

I did nothing about either of these options, or the other smaller ones I’ve had.

I say these things not to make myself feel miserable, but in a sort of gentle puzzlement. Three years of intensive counselling training and reflection could not help me, two years of therapy did not help me, thirty years of life have not helped me. Everyone has a theory on why I do not submit my books further than arm’s reach, particularly those smarty pants who are also counsellors.

I get great opportunities, I do not follow up on them. I have two and a half pretty okay/good books lying around somewhere – I don’t know where. Somewhere. And now I’ve had all this time off work – something I would have previously dreamed of.

I think the question is, do I not pursue this because I am lazy (or due to some other psychological neurosis), or because it is not what I want to do? I know I am the happiest when I am writing, and for right now, that’s enough. Maybe. I don’t know why I am thinking about this stuff again.

I do know this is not just confined to writing, but other opportunities as well. In the last twelve months I have been offered paid supervisory work, a position as the core tutor on a counselling course (abroad, no less!), and some random bits and pieces of counselling work. You’ll note none of these things are going on – although I think the only reason I made the decision not to do these was because we were going through IVF, and then pregnancy. So scratch the limiting myself thing – while fabulous chances do sometimes make me sweat, at least I feel I made an actual choice to turn these jobs down.

With writing, any choice is made by virtue of me simply not doing anything. Inaction is deadly.

Perhaps I am just ripening – (how long can I use that excuse for?)

Or maybe because I am not working as a counsellor while these babies brew, and being in sessions with clients made me feel as good as the worlds in my head do. You see how the excuses and justifications and explanations pile up? I am good at finding them, but nothing seems to unlock all the mysteries at the same time, no matter how good they sound.

I guess one bottom line could be (maybe, possibly, coulda shoulda woulda) the simple truth that nothing I write seems good enough, true enough, authentic enough. Perfect enough.



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2 Responses to “Finding my voice.”

  1. Anna Says:

    Oh God, Alison, the details are different but the story is identical. I’m coming up to 55 and still, I hesitate. I’ve reached different conclusions about it over the years and reading this entry by you, now gives me another dollop of stuff to ponder.

  2. existere Says:

    I could ponder on this all for another thirty years and quite possibly be where I am right now. If you come to any grand conclusions, do let me know.

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