Tag Archives: Social Media

Writing, Impostor Syndrome and Productivity: a Confessional

This started out as a late night Twitter post but I think, I hope, it’s worth posting it here. It was inspired in part by SFF writer Matt Dovey’s own, extremely honest thread about the doubts and tribulations regarding his writing process. Since it resonated so hard with me, I can imagine it resonating with others.

This is what I wrote yesterday, expanded a little, because I’m not restricted to 280 characters here!

“I wrote a new poem. That’s a much bigger deal than it sounds. I haven’t dared to write anything truly new in four years: since I was nominated for a BSFA Award in 2017.

In hindsight, I found the sudden sense of scrutiny crushingly intimidating: it juddered me to a slow crawl, during which I made many notes and obsessively squinted at poems/fiction I’d been writing already. I barely submitted anything. What I did submit bounced, usually with encouraging noises attached; two publications that did accept pieces sadly folded before they could bring their project to life.

Looking at that, it was my confidence that was shot (by getting an award nomination.. the irony), rather than my work lacking, per se. Not that I saw it that way, I was my own worst heckler. But considering no one else at the time went: ‘Your work stinks, Suna, give up!’, I was definitely getting in my own way. I did an interview here, a blog post there. I could talk up a storm about my WIP’s. I just omitted they’d been ‘IP’ since 2011 or thereabouts! I knew intellectually it’s fine if you’re not prolific for a while, or at least not as prolific as you feel you should be. To not beat yourself up on top of everything else. Easy to understand, harder to break. Especially since words and concepts swam opaquely around my head but I just didn’t seem to have the whats to capture them with a pen.

I never entirely stopped but my heart wasn’t entirely in it, either. I just dribbled occasional words into notepads or my writing app. Then something did change. As insidiously as my confidence leaked away, my will to write crept back. I’d love to say I made a conscious choice to grow a spine, but it grew over time.

A drabble prompt clinched it: short enough to not be daunting, challenging enough to make blood flow back into places I thought I had only tar. It got accepted almost immediately. The validation, the sense that I am doing something right after all, helped enormously, too 🙂

I felt excited about writing again. There was movement, albeit still a bit uncertainly. Then I read Matt Dovey’s thread. A long heartfelt sharing of his difficulties, obstacles both internal and extrnal, his doubts: his honesty and vulnerability were so moving and galvanising, it helped stoke up the fire in me. Yesterday, I used another call for submissions to write an entirely new piece. What made all the difference: I spent no time fretting about The Gallery of Scrutiny, its nameless judgements and the shameful sense I should pander to it. It was mine.

I still lack structure. Music is partially responsible, but really, it’s discipline and I am inconsistent. But I’m writing again and I’m happy about it. Matt’s post really yanked my chain in the best possible way, it helped me to nail my courage to the sticking place and I’m so grateful he shared it. I’m excited for his newfound fuel as much as mine and I look forward to reading his upcoming work.”

Afterthought after having posted the thread: “Maybe I’ll hardly publish actual fiction again. The most important and liberating thing is that the shouldism and self-judgement are gone. I play music, I perform. It’s an infinite luxury to have a creative career at all. When they flow, there are words. I’ve made amazing friends through writing. If you’re still reading, you are probably one of them, so: thank you.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

The Steampunk Hands Around the World Initiative

StefanHolzhauerDesign

I am very pleased to have been asked to contribute to a project called Steampunk Hands around the World,
a month long event in February 2014 showing and sharing that Steampunk and the community is global and as such, all Steampunks everywhere are connected.
The central theme is that of global connection and friendship.

The idea has sprung from Airship Ambassador Kevin D. Steil, who feels there is a need to unify Steampunks of all persuasions in every curve of the globe. Be they writers, makers, musicians, costume designers or simply afficionado’s of the genre who express their enjoyment by attending cons and events, his wish is to tie them all closer together and break any walls that stand between different articulations of the genre.

I can attest that this is something to be looked at: As someone who primarily writes, I am not considered very active in the ‘scene’ as such; I don’t have a prominent con presence and even though I like messing about with scrap metal in the garage, I don’t consider myself a maker.
My own contribution will, unsuprisingly, lie in a writerly direction with an exclusive story released on Valentine’s Day.

I will be also re-uploading the video I made for EuroSteamCon 2013, in which I talk about what Steampunk means to me.
As an addendum to my participation I have also made it a personal mission to try and include as big an Indian element in this cerebral joining of hands as I can manage, not to mention trying to beef up the female presence in this endeavour!

One of the female characters I people my alternate India with.

One of the female characters I people my alternate India with.

This said, if you read this and feel ignited to contribute in some form, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of the links below.

I will be Tweeting under the hashtag #SteampunkHands, so keep an eye out for it and please, join the conversation!

Below the press release, which will give an indication of what to expect during February:

Steampunk Hands Around the World

Just as current day expressions of steampunk are not limited to the literature where it began, the people in the steampunk community are not bound to any one geographical region. Steampunk appears in many forms, and with its popularity, the community has grown to encompass the world.
The celebration and sharing of that global association is at the heart of a new project, Steampunk Hands Around the World, by Kevin Steil, the creator and editor of Steampunk news and information resource website, Airship Ambassador.
With more than three dozen Steampunk creators – bloggers, authors, event organizers, and others – also participating, the month long project is a multi format media presentation about the international connections and communications in the community, for Steampunks and non-steampunks alike.
Beginning Sunday, February 2nd, and continuing until Friday, February 28th, the group will show and share that Steampunks everywhere are linked together and that new friends are waiting in every conversation.
Steampunk, in its many forms, brings people together in an inclusive and helpful network of similar mind. From sharing book and music review opinions, to playing the newest games and sharing DIY information on fashion and props, the steampunk community easily and comfortably brings together people ages eight to eighty in ways not often seen in other communities.

The full and updated-daily list of participating websites, blogs and events will be posted in the kick-off blog on the Airship Ambassador blog site:
http://airshipambassador.wordpress.com
For more information, please contact Kevin Steil at Kevin@AirshipAmbassador.com

1 Comment

Filed under Steampunk