My Writing and Me by guest author Clare E. Rhoden
Today, my friend and fellow author, Clare E. Rhoden stops by the blog to discuss the importance of her writing in her life. Thank you for visiting. Over to you, Clare.
Writing has been with me for a long time.
Naturally, it was preceded by reading. The first book I remember was the Ladybird classic Puppies and Kittens, which my mother bought for my third birthday and read aloud to me on the bus on the way home. She reports that I read it back to her flawlessly. I’m not querying that story, but I must have had a good memory for words and pictures.
In primary school I once received 100% for a creative essay. The task was to write a new story about characters from our favourite book. I can’t remember which book, but I know I was devouring Rosemary Sutcliffe at the time and that I used a lot of Roman words, so I suspect it was one of The Eagle of the Ninth series. That fan fiction idea has been around for a while!
I admit that I feel ‘better’ after some time spent writing. What does ‘better’ mean? I suppose it’s satisfying. There is some need – like the need to read – that I must cater to if I’m to feel at my best. I can go for some days without writing, but I am probably devising scenes in my head.
During difficult times, writing has been a sanity saver for me. One of the stories I have tucked away is called ‘Things I Wish I Didn’t Know’. In there, I assume the persona of a grumpy old lady full of warnings and admonitions. That story grows longer every time I get upset by something going on in the world.
I’m probably not the first writer to lack confidence in her own writing. My need for affirmation sent me jumping through as many academic hoops as I could find. However, studying creative writing at graduate level was a great help to me, because I received heaps of feedback and constructive criticism. Writing for academic journals was also good for my writerly development. Submitting papers to peer review, I was sent guidelines for improvement (EG ‘please revise along the lines suggested and resubmit’). I also had plenty of DEstructive or OBstructive criticism, and arguments in refutation, or else no feedback at all except ‘thanks but no thanks’. Perfect preparation for the rollercoaster experiences of submission, rejection, submission, rejection, and the occasional bliss of acceptance for publication.
These days, I write science fiction. I write fantasy. I write historical fiction. I write about characters and their trials. Animals are characters too in my writing. I laugh and cry with my characters, and (of course) have private conversations with them. I’m not a planner as such, so although I have ideas mapped out in my head, I’m pretty flexible. If a character says to me “I wouldn’t say that!”, or “You can’t kill me off yet, I have another role to play!”, then I can adapt.
I love writing.
Clare’s website: clarerhoden.com
Clare’s Instagram: @aerynr
Clare’s twitter: @ ClareER