Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beverley Stone: Narcissism and the Single Novelist Part I

Meet Beverley Stone, all-around awesome person. For the next few weeks, she'll be blogging about life as an author, with the same warm and honest humanity that defines her novel No Beautiful Shore. Settle in and enjoy a peek into the mind of a very talented writer.

Narcissism and the Single Novelist
I. Doubtful


When Bryan asked me to blog for Cormorant, I cringed and said, maybe later, very busy, etc. Unlike the authors that Mr. Harper knows, I do not go to galas each night of the week and spend my days getting my hair swept into an updo and my nails painted chartreuse. I work in an office with nice people, nine to five, Monday to Friday. Not much happens in my daily life to blog about.

But as a writer, I like to think that if my days are outwardly boring; I have a “rich inner life,” as the artsy types say. The thing that most people ask me about (other than is my writing autobiographical) is how does a story take form? What is happening in your head as you write? Since not much happens on the outside, I thought I’d tell you what’s happening on the inside.

Here goes. Topic one: bone-crushing doubt.

Doubt – and I think someone else said this first – is the black lung disease of writers. The act of booting up the computer triggers it at a cellular level. I think, for me, it might be terminal.

I am working on something new and I am fighting with my doubts every step of the way. How will I find a publisher now that capitalism is on its knees, begging for handouts? Do I have anything even vaguely interesting to say? Mostly, I think that I am wasting my time and that of others – people like yourself, who might otherwise be boiling pasta or cleaning out under the bathroom sink instead of trolling online for narcissistic blogs by unknown, Canadian writers.

It takes a lot of effort to move that doubt aside some days, as it stands like a needy cat in front of your computer screen. The truth is though, it’s just not relevant to the story, so you have to make yourself chase it away. You can’t think about who will publish or who will read the story. That’s the outside world pressing in, which I think can’t be much help in an honest day’s writing.

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