Writing

Ping-Pong

I am a creative, an artist, a well of ideas and inspiration…. and sometimes it sucks!

Yep, sucks. I struggle; I find it hard to tell myself to keep going, to keep trying, to ignore the little voice in my head telling me: ‘You’re just not good enough.’ (This is the same voice that proclaims I’m really good at hoovering or hanging out the washing, so it wins more times than I’d like…)

Then the sun shines on my creative endeavours and I get a surge of ‘I am good enough. I’m going to do it anyway, I’m going to prove the little voice wrong!’

Hence, sucks. Hence: Ping-Pong ~ the constant ‘not-good-enough’ match that plays in my life, thoughts bat back and forth, infuriating noise included: ‘tuk, pup. tuk, pup. tuk, pup. tuk, pup. tuk, pup…’ ~ see annoying isn’t it?

I’m not the only one who suffers from ‘Ping-Pong’, it’s common among writers, artists and creative types. If there was a Creative GP, I’m sure emergency appointments would fill up on a daily basis.

A friend of mine Tara blogged about her recent ‘Writer in Crisis’ and this is my response:

Tara, I know how you feel and I’m sure, lots of other writers do too. I (finally) entered the CWA Debut Dagger competition a few years back, and felt the ‘So, I’m NOT good enough’ pain keenly. Looking back I was just glad I finished the entry, got the words down and proved to myself that I could do it ~ something that I’ve been promising myself I’d do for ages!

I also look at (writing) competitions differently now: For MOST people (writing) competitions should not be a talent defining tool, sure top slots are defining, confidence boosting, even potential career changers, but….

If anything competitions are more like (and should be treated as) a marathon. By all means take up the challenge (they’re good for you); prepare well, enter, take your number and let your manuscript run the race. Just remember, unlike a real marathon you’ll only get to see a select few cross the finish line…

What of the other (writerly) runners?

The slush pilers? The got-something listers? The not-quite listers? The long listers?

Just because you (and I) didn’t get into the one of the top slots, doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have crossed the finish line ~ obviously the ‘runners’ that dove straight into the bin would’ve been the running equivalent of being carted away by St John’s, but we won’t go there 🙂

We write because of the words; wanting readers isn’t a great leap, it’s a natural one. Putting your work out there, for others – strangers – to see is a bigger leap (one I should take more often). It’s too easy to label your work based on the opinion of a few select judges, but the truth is they’re just weren’t your readers that day. You may find your readers tomorrow, or in the next competition, or via self-publishing, or by sending your work to a publisher or agent… one competition shouldn’t crush a dream, it should just be a hurdle to the next opportunity to find your readers.

You crossed the finish line x

~~~

Although ‘Ping-Pong’ is a stupid name, the game it plays with you is not. Many a creative endeavour has fallen foul of its power, and many a creative person has given up the dream… I often tell myself it would be easier to just not try anymore, to keep my artistic works to myself, but then I invariably slump into a state of unfulfilment, dissatisfaction and, sometimes, depression. I know why, it’s because I am creative and I’m smothering my natural instincts. My gift may not be a talent yet, but I’m getting better at playing the game, and one day I’ll win, but for now…

‘tuk, pup. tuk pup. tuk, pup…’

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2 thoughts on “Ping-Pong

  1. And thank you for your comment…. not to mention your blog post – it reminded me of how I felt when I entered the CWA competition; not just the negative, but the positive – the high of finishing, pressing send, knowing I finally done it!
    Reading my entry now I’m not surprised I didn’t get anywhere though; doing a (very) cold read meant I was able to see I wasn’t ready to get a place… yet! I could see some good stuff too, so I’m not ready to give up… neither should you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you very much, Cath. Your reply (and blog) means so much. I am glad you are still playing the game even though it is hard, often soul destroying work. I have a feeling when you do win, we all will too because of what you produce. Can’t wait to see it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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