I found myself nervous writing reviews for collections of poetry. I must give that context, in terms of my depression and where my confidence is. I found myself reading other people’s reviews and they were like works of art. They could be describing the book in a couple of sentences, saying what they think and making it sound compulsory to read that poetry collection. I mean, I can get in a real funk with my need for perfectionism. It makes me procrastinate and urgh, give up sometimes. Because how on earth do you reach perfectionism? I forget I pretty much write reviews for myself to begin with, to get my thoughts down, to discuss and ask questions. Most of the inspiration felt in reading poetry collections usually prompts my own poetry. I find it easier to be afraid people will tell me I’m wrong about my opinion in a review, than in my writing because I’ll tell them to piss off. Poetry can take up any form and it’s subjective. Not everyone will like what you write. It’s the same with why I gave up writing fiction. If I stray from poem form, I feel uncertain. I think I’m not a fiction writer. When you can learn to be. It isn’t easy. But I can learn about those things I struggle with, like structuring chapters, the story arc and all those other bits with fancy names. Then maybe I can finish that story, which has been 13 years in the making.
This only comes from myself, by the way. I don’t have terrible memories of people criticising my reviews, or my stories. I can remember people not being keen to read my writing. Obviously, I remember teachers at school trying to teach me about putting paragraphs into my writing and how capital letters were important. But I was privileged that I got a lot of what they taught me, I loved reading fact books and encyclopaedia’s, enjoyed spelling tests and treated times tables as if they were Brussel Sprouts and I have always had ideas. My imagination has always been active. In secondary school writing became my outlet for being socially inept, so thankfully I did have my primary school education. Writing is instinctive.