Take Yourself Seriously

Most of you will probably know by now (having glanced around this website) that I am currently studying for an MA in crime fiction at City University in London. At the end of next year I will (hopefully) graduate from the MA having written a complete crime novel.

Scary stuff.

I had a rough meeting with my tutor yesterday that was completely eye-opening. We talked about the plans for my proposed novel, and came to the conclusion that perhaps what I’ve been trying to write recently is not what I want to write. Not really. The idea is fine, but not something I am 100% passionate about.

And that’s scary, too.

But it’s also exhilarating. I can now start afresh! And I’ve been placed on what I’m calling a “Six Week Writing Ban”, in order to recoup and sort myself out. And that means a LOT of reading. So that probably means more reviews. Yay!

Last night was also important though, because we had a class on Violence in Fiction by Alex Preston (@ahmpreston). A lot of what Alex said was helpful, but something he said has really stuck with me. He said:

“Take yourselves seriously.”

As writers, we often don’t feel like we belong. Like what we’re doing isn’t of any worth. And as unpublished writers this is even more common. We think that our writing is not something to take seriously. I know a lot of us are even afraid to say to people I AM A WRITER. But the important thing is, I’m pretty sure most people feel that way. Everybody feels like the imposter in the room. We all feel like we don’t belong, like we ended up there accidentally…

And after Alex’s talk, I left feeling excited. Because I’d just been given an excuse – somebody else had told me that I could take myself seriously! I left thinking: I am a writer. Published or not. And what I do is serious. It is worthy. It’s awesome.

So now I’m giving you the same excuse. The same permission. Be weird. Be awesome. Be you. Be a writer. And don’t apologise about it. Take yourself seriously because you belong here just as much as anybody else does.

Sometimes it will be hard. Sometimes you will have to throw everything out and start from scratch. But sometimes that’s a good thing.

Thank you, Alex Preston, for making me realise this.

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