I is for Insecurities and Inferiority Complex

Iis for insecurities and inferiority complex. There are some wonderful perks of belonging to a group of writers like The Write Romantics, but there are some drawbacks, too. They can all write, for a start! It’s the same when you friend a lot of authors on Twitter and Facebook. It’s fabulous to hear their news, read their blogs, share in their triumphs, commiserate when things are going badly. Problem is, they all seem an awful lot better than me – and a whole lot more, well, writerly.

I often hear about writers going on writing holidays. They sound absolutely wonderful. A whole week in a beautiful location abroad, writing in the sunshine. No dreary day job to worry about, no kids calling, no husband demanding more attention – or any attention at all, come to that. Nothing to do but mix with other like-minded people and write. These holidays are very popular and I can quite see why. They’re also expensive, and while I have no doubt that they are worth every penny, they are beyond me at the moment. This year we’re saving hard to rent a caravan in sunny Mablethorpe for a week with the kids and grandkids, so I think if I announced I was heading to the continent for a few days of sunshine, wine and creative contemplation, they would all take a pretty dim view of it. And that’s part of the problem, because sometimes, writing seems like such a middle class thing to do.

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton

A lot of the people I speak to on social media seem to lead such glamorous lives. They live in beautiful locations, in fabulous houses, and write full time or have very good jobs. They are at great pains to assure the rest of us that their life is far from glamorous and that they are just “ordinary” people, and I’m sure they are. Just that their definition of ordinary may not match mine.

Daphne DuMaurier and family at Menabilly

Daphne du Maurier and family at Menabilly

I’m actually glad to read about such people. It matches the idea I formed in my head when I was a little girl, thoroughly entranced by the works of Enid Blyton. Everything I read about her seemed about as far removed from my own life as it was possible to be. And that’s what gave me the idea that writers should be ethereal creatures, living in country houses, attending village fetes, giving out prizes, wafting around with their heads full of their imaginary characters, while real life carried on around them, having nothing to do with them and not interrupting their creativity in any shape or form. Or living in wonderful houses like Menabilly in Cornwall, and having lives of great adventure like Daphne du Maurier, or intrigue and mystery like Agatha Christie, who mysteriously vanished for a few days only to turn up safe and well at a hotel in Harrogate but never spoke of the incident again.

That’s why I find it so difficult to say, “I’m a writer.” In spite of the fact that I have been writing stories since I was a little girl at primary school. In spite of the fact that I have this blog. In spite of the fact that I have a Facebook page which clearly states, Sharon Booth, Writer.  In spite of the fact that I have a short story published in an anthology. In spite of the fact that I have a full-length novel for sale on Amazon. In spite of the fact that Book Two is ready and booked to go to an editor. In spite of the fact that I’m working on Book Three and have a whole list of plots for further books. Yes, and even in spite of the fact that I devote far more hours every day to my writing than I do to my actual paid job – the job that pays the rent and bills. Even with all that, I still feel that I’m a fraud. Because, in my own head, I just don’t live up to the image I have of A Writer.

I don’t know what it will take for me to actually believe that I deserve to call myself that. I don’t think I ever will believe that I’m the sort of person who can take writing holidays. I doubt very much that I’ll ever own a beautiful home in the country or even be able to write full time. Writing is just not the same as it once was. The days when it was easy to make a living from writing books seem like a distant memory, something I dreamed when I was still a child, smitten with the idea of being Enid Blyton.

Milly Johnson

Milly Johnson

I remember seeing Milly Johnson on Come Dine With Me and being totally over the moon because she had a Yorkshire accent! She was the first writer I’d heard who didn’t speak with a “posh” voice, and I loved her for it. When I first met my fellow Write Romantics, Alex and Julie, I was dismayed to find that they spoke so nicely. There was me with my broad Hull accent, and they didn’t even sound as if they were from Yorkshire at all. I felt terribly inferior and tried very hard to speak correctly, sounding my aitches and trying to concentrate on the way I was speaking. It was horrible! After getting to know them better, I stopped bothering. It put me on edge, and they seemed to like me anyway. Now I’m just me, and if they’ve been wondering what on earth happened to my voice, well, now they know!

download (9)

Little Britain’s Dame Sally Markham

I’m very aware that this says a lot more about me than it does about anyone else. It’s an inferiority complex that I’ve had for years, and I have to work on it and stop hiding away. I also have to accept that writers come in all shapes and sizes, from all classes, all backgrounds, and, for the most part, are lovely, normal people with as many insecurities and anxieties as anyone else.  I wish that someone had told me when I was young that you don’t have to be upper or middle class to write. I may have believed in myself and in the possibility that I could be a writer many years ago. I hope that today’s children are being taught that if it’s what they want to do they should go for it! In the meantime, I have a new mission – building up the self-esteem! If I work hard enough, who knows, one day I may even see myself like this! 😉

Have a great day xx

Don’t forget, you can still win a signed copy of There Must Be An Angel. Just fill in the contact form on this site and I’ll enter you into the giveaway. You have until Saturday night!

7 thoughts on “I is for Insecurities and Inferiority Complex

  1. Sharon – I come from a very working class background and always felt ‘looked down on’ as a child by people at school who had bigger houses and more money than my parents and I used to dream of having a life like the children in Enid Blyton’s stories. I was desperate to go to ‘Mallory Towers’ or ‘St Clare’s’! I’m lucky enough now to be able to do what I love but I understand completely where you’re coming from. That feeling of inadequacy never quite leaves you. But you most certainly are a writer and I’m off to buy your book now to prove it! (and village fetes are over-rated anyway)

    Like

    • Oh, Alison, how lovely of you! Thank you very much. I’m glad it’s not just me. I think, during my childhood, my mind was full of Enid Blyton stories, and real life never quite matched up! I wanted to be Darrell Rivers, or one of the children from Mistletoe Farm, or a member of the Famous Five. I sometimes think Enid has a lot to answer for, but, on the other hand, she totally inspired my love of reading and, because of that, my desire to write my own stories, so I also have a lot to thank her for. I hope you enjoy the book xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! Loved the pictures💟 I have exactly the same insecurities. I’ve been a teacher for 30 years, so when people ask me what I do I say I’m a teacher and a writer. I hope, like you to one day be able to say I’m a writer full stop, but, like you, I don’t know when the day will come. In any case, I’m enjoying the journey:)

    Like

  3. It’s strange, isn’t it? I don’t think musicians and artists have this problem. People who play in bands part time would have no problem saying they are musicians, even if they do another job to pay the bills, and I wouldn’t disagree with them. I have a lovely friend who paints the most beautiful pictures in her spare time and I think of her as an artist. She’s a teaching assistant by profession, but in my mind she is totally an artist and I wouldn’t think twice about introducing her as such. Why do writers have such angst about this? Thank you for commenting. Keep on enjoying the journey! x

    Like

  4. You really have nothing to feel insecure about. Didn’t writing that list out of all your writing achievements make you feel like a writer? It’s an incredible list! I get the difficulty in calling yourself a writer. Amongst writing friends, I feel comfortable with that ‘label’, but I would never say it as my main thing to anyone else when they ask me what I do. I suppose that’s because I still work full-time and, unfortunately, if I want to sleep, that takes up more hours than writing so, by default, the day job is what I do. I tend to dismiss my writing as “something I do in my spare time” whilst laughing inside at the thought of ‘spare’ time.

    I can’t say I’d noticed your accent change. I know you think Alys and I are posh, but we’re really not. If you’d met me when I was 18, you’d have heard a Teesside accent tinged with a bit of County Durham as that’s where my parents were from. Since leaving home, I’ve worked all over the country and I’ve lost my accent although certain words (and alcohol) give away my roots! I was used as the voice-over on some e-Learning materials in a recent job because I have a “region-free accent”. I wish I didn’t. I wish I still had a northern accent, but more than half my life of mixing with people from all over the country has cancelled it out. It’s certainly not been a deliberate thing.

    My dreams are similar to you. I’d love to write full-time, live in a big house in the country (I actually dream of running a writer’s retreat), but I doubt that will ever happen. Like you, we’re frantically saving for a holiday, but suspect we won’t be able to afford one this year because we’ve had to change our car. It’s my birthday in 3 weeks and I’d love my birthday gift to be a writing holiday, but there’s just no way. Some stationery and a DVD perhaps? It must be lovely to be able to afford these things, but even if we could, I bet there’d still be insecurities. I doubt they ever, ever go away xx

    Like

  5. I love the way you talk! You and Alex have such lovely voices. I could listen to you both for hours. I DO listen to you both for hours! 🙂 Ooh, running a writers’ retreat! Wouldn’t that be fabulous? *sigh*. One day, maybe. It’s nice to dream – and if there’s one thing we writers (there, I said it!) are good at, it’s dreaming…xxx

    Like

  6. I think it’s being creative that brings with it insecurity. You’re putting something that you’ve created out there for people to like, dislike, criticise or ignore. That’s a tough thing to do and extraordinarily brave. The anxiety used to cripple me until I realised that it’s part of being creative and if I didn’t get over it I’d be missing out on doing the thing that I love. I know exactly what you mean about the term writer and my musician friends (who mainly have other jobs) still call themselves musicians and no one objects. They just progress to ‘professional musician’ when they start making a living from it. But you can now call yourself a writer as you’ve got your book out there and you’re earning money from it. Maybe not enough to pay for a writing retreat yet but give it time and who knows where you’ll be. Just look what you’ve achieved in the two years since we first met!
    I used to have a York accent but I lost it when I went to University in East Anglia and got teased relentlessly about my Yorkshire vowels. So I’m sorry if I sound ‘right posh’ sometimes. Like Julie, if I drink enough or spend time with my sister it all comes back! Thanks for another lovely post, Sharon. You’re on a roll at the moment xxx

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s