I gotta admit whenever I start to write (or write over several days) this feeling of pretentiousness comes over me. The question “why should anyone be interested in what I write/think?” is a damning one for my part.
I mean I don’t deny I had a life with interesting twists and turns. Here I am. A person who spent 3 years in Astronomy, then moved to Philosophy in a different city from where he grew up, did a Master’s on Sociology and went to the Netherlands while he’s writing his thesis and then switched careers again to become a programmer. For 7 years he acted as one and then… now. Now I’m studying International Relations… as an undergraduate student yet again.
I’d love to chat with a person with a similar history like mine, come to think of it. But when you are that person, believe me you have this fear of blandness. Doing stuff wrong, there is a little voice telling you “maybe you shouldn’t write, you dumb shit”
I mostly think this roots from a traumatic experience on my part for a brief period of writing in a Sci-Fi webjournal. I wrote a piece on imperial rule and tried to connect it with the real history. Then a person whom I always considered as a giant in our field, not criticized it in a productive manner but destroyed it outright. So okay he is known, hell notorious, for these things but still I think it damaged my will to write. It’s stupid, and if you are on a creative field you gotta have a thick skin regarding to critics and naysayers but still in some weird way it hurted.
I don’t believe, by the way, that writing is a talent. I am taking HARLAN ELLISON’s route here. To quote:
Anybody can be a writer. […] you realize that things that live in a petri dish for Christ’s sake can become a writer. The tricks is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer – day after month after year after story after book.Voices of Vision: Creators of Science Fiction and Fantasy Speak – Jayme Lynn Blaschke – Pg. 182
With time and a structured approach I think writing can be learned. As a corollary to that I don’t believe anyone who says “ooh writing is a talent, either you got it or not”. What we see on bookshelves (if there are any bookshelves any more) and popular websites are the best works of the writers. But every creative field (from painting to writing) has this attic containing flawed and terrible works. Works done to find the voice, find the style of the artist or just to try an approach. That’s the part we don’t get to see as a consumer.
But I think great works have this pedestal of mediocre or bad works to rise.