Sunday, 5 April 2015

Performance Anxiety

I'm not a sporty or dramatic soul, and so I'd like to think that I wouldn't have to worry about my performance. But I do and I am. Have to worry, that is (don't worry: I am not about to become a sportswoman or an actor. Phew.)

Yesterday, I enjoyed spending another entire-day reading (there's been a few of those recently), and completed The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley. I absolutely loved this book: the overseas settings were so real I could step into them; the characters were so involving that I wanted to be with them; and the storyline was so intriguing and moving that I wanted it to go on and on. 

This book also encompassed themes that I love to think, read and write about: loss and love; painting and painters; women finding and living their independence; the definitions of family, and the grounding family gives you. This book also made me realise that my tastes have matured (five years ago, I wouldn't have enjoyed reading passages about wartime and the various methods of and the people involved in resistance - but I do now), and that this opens up new areas of reading and writing for me. 

This book moved me; and pleased me, for the threads of resolution were woven into the final chapters, yet nothing was tied up too easily or too emphatically - enough was left for me, the Reader, to fill in. This book got me looking on the author's Facebook page for news of her next one; it got me scrolling through her book-signing photos and watching the couple-of-seconds-long video of the book coming off the printer's press...which was so intoxicating. 

But this book also scared me.

Because I'd love to write this well, to produce a manuscript capable of doing all the things this one has done to me to other people.

But what if I'm not that good? What if, after all these years and years of writing on after each hurdle and seeing that my work has indeed evolved, I'm still not that good?

This is not the only book to do this to me. My other favourites - The Forgotten Garden and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, Lighthouse Bay and Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman, The Unseen and A Half Forgotten Song by Katherine Webb, The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall, and A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly - have also made me feel this way.

I do know that this is performance anxiety. I do know that I'm not the only writer to feel this way. And I do know that this feeling will pass. Promise. In several days, I'll be able to write my Reading Journal entry extolling how fabulous the book is, and it will take its place on my bookshelf next to my other wish-I'd-written-'em favourites.

But till then, for a little while, I feel not-so-good. While it doesn't sound it, this not-so-good is a lot better than incapable, which is what I used to feel some years ago. 

So it's probably good timing that today is Easter Sunday and I am internationally-permitted to consume (and console myself with) chocolate - indeed, it would be internationally-rude not to, wouldn't it?! 

Believe me, I have no performance issues when it comes to chocolate. Except about when to stop eating it...

~ ttfn ~ 


  1. Love this! I know how you feel about writing so can understand this. We always judge ourselves against those we deem to be good. But do you know? They may deem you good too! Take care Zo xx

    1. Thanks hon :0) I appreciate your cheerleading of me, always. We will be back to your eagle-eyed commenting and appreciation soon! Love ya xxx


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