I do a bit of writing in my spare time. Always have.
When i was little, i wrote stories. One of the first i wrote was probably inappropriate as it was about Lily, a girl who was kidnapped, abused and killed by a horrible woman, but who comes back as a ghost and eventually becomes alive again. Very imaginative (and disturbing) for a young girl!
Unfortunately, i have this horrible tendancy to throw stories out. And then massively regret it a few years later. This was in an age before computers (yes, i remember that time, although i’m only in my twenties!). It’s one thing to have got rid of my old childhood and teenage books, which i regret now as i can’t remember all of what i read, but at least i’d be able to buy those books back if i wanted to.
But once you’ve ripped up and binned your stories, that’s it. They’re gone forever, unless you have really good memory. But writing them from memory is never as good as the first time when they were fresh and new.
So i wish i hadn’t binned the Lily story, even though it was a bit unpleasant (but with a happy ending), because it was the first story i wrote and actually finished.
It makes you realise how great computers are for keeping things for a long time. These days i can write on paper and then type it up later.
You have no idea how much i want to kick myself for throwing these things out! Maybe i would have been treated better if i’d shown people my writing, most of which tends to be secret and never sees the light of day.
I chose a Creative Writing module during my degree, which i really enjoyed. We were encouraged to start a writing journal, and this went pretty much everywhere with me, on train journeys (there were quite a few), on walks, to the place where i volunteered as a room steward, etc. I was going through a difficult few months at the time so it was my outlet for all my emotions, and when things got even worse i carried on doing it, realising how much better i felt pouring my soul onto pages. Some of my writing i felt would be good in my module portfolio which was to be marked. When i got it back, i was totally gutted and upset because my tutor had basically slated my work totally. I got the lowest mark so far in my degree and i hated that woman so much. I know everyone’s writing is different but she seemed particularly evil towards me and my writing. The word “sentimental” was used to describe it, and she also thought my writing would work well “in a women’s magazine” (i.e. something like Cosmo). And to top it off, she had written notes on all my pieces, except the one i felt was my absolute best and favourite piece. Nothing at all on that one. No wonder i was so upset.
I haven’t really shared my writing with other people since then. My mum says i shouldn’t let one person stop me doing it, which i guess is a fair point, after all my friends in that writing class actually agreed that the tutor had been unfair to me and said my work was actually quite good. I know i can improve on my writing, but it would have been nicer to have some helpful and constructive feedback as to how i could improve, instead of just slating my work.
But then, we all have critics, and i guess my biggest critic is myself.