Monday, 2 November 2015

A silver carrot for a writer

This is a motivational talk to myself.

I saw a beautiful piece of silver jewellery yesterday. It's made by Charlotte Tabor of Kara Jewellery, and it's just what I've been hankering after, though I didn't know until I saw it. I don't have a lot of jewellery, glitz not really being my thing, but occasionally I see something that feels right and usually I walk away.

Even the thought of buying it felt frivolous and extravagant. Oughtn't I to be spending my hard-earned cash on serious things?

But I bought it. That's it, in the box.

And here's the thing. I've justified it to myself as a silver carrot. When things get tough in the novel I'm writing - which they will, and I'll want to throw it in the bin at some point, I know that - I'll look at the box and I'll keep going, because I'm only allowed to open the box when I've finished the first draft.

That's pathetic, isn't it? I should be totally driven at all times by a pure desire to write this novel. I bet Ali Smith and Kate Atkinson and all those writers I admire don't need to bribe themselves. The thing is, there are many moments when I find it hard to believe I can write this novel. I could churn out a huge heap of words and be finished by Christmas, but I don't want a huge heap of words. I want to write a novel I'll be proud of, and that means overcoming my fear of it not being good enough, every single day.

I spent a lot of my adult life learning not to make rules for myself - random ones that just make life harder. But sometimes, they work. Just making the rule can be enough. And of course, rules are there to be broken.