I was asked recently when FoxholeBrit would be updated and it’s a fair question, because I know it’s a bit bleak at the moment. What I started with was a collection of poems and short stories that I would only update to the blog after receiving feedback from whatever class assigned them. The deeper I get into the world of writing and the more I hone my craft, the more difficult it becomes to post some of my work to this page, though maybe not for the reasons the average reader would expect. The more I relish how my thoughts transform into text to be consumed by strangers, the more I start to accept that I am, in fact, a writer.
I don’t write in a diary for the sole purpose of fulfilling myself, as if the craft exists singularly for my own selfish benefit. If you do, that’s perfectly okay, but it isn’t my goal here. I write with an audience in mind and with the aim for publishing. Posting my best work here means that most opportunities for publishing are out the window, since the majority of places consider posting to a private blog to be “previously published”. Publishers want to be the first to show off a new writer, which makes sense.
My initial thought was that if I share my work here, I could continue growing and revising, while setting aside the idea of publication into a safe little box to be accessed in the future. I unintentionally set the precedent that what I was producing wasn’t good enough. Of course lots of what I write should never be considered quality enough to formally publish (I subscribe fully to the idea that drafts should remain safe and silent, tucked away from prying eyes), but I think I was deluding myself into thinking that I was not-yet-capable of quality work and well, that’s just nonsense. I have to draw a line somewhere and stop looking at publishing as a “one day” that I never actually make the true effort of reaching for.
I think many writers find it difficult to call themselves a writer or author, because of all the baggage the words carry when interacting with strangers (or ourselves). When somebody asks what we do, some of us will say we write, but many of us will provide our day job or that we’re a student, because of this idea that writing is for people who can afford to live in a fantasy. We don’t feel like we can succeed because despite plenty of evidence that readers still exist and want to read, others rarely see the effort that goes into a polished piece. Many people assume, same as with any art, that writing is something that comes only to the naturally talented, rather than a craft to be molded and improved upon, and sadly, a lot of writers believe since they simply can’t be good enough, they might as well give up before they truly start.
Writing, like any other form of artistic expression, is often an examination of existence and a way of connection, but the difference between putting words on paper versus paint to canvas, is that writers are so acutely aware of the impact of language. We paint with words and those words have unique and complex interactions with the world around them that differs from paint or pastels. Writers fear accepting a title that may be construed the wrong way by somebody else. To accept the title, is to openly accept that the vast majority of people around us often don’t understand or even worse, actively think we can’t succeed. We fear a lot of things, sometimes to the point of personal and professional paralyses or self-sabotage. We create mental roadblocks, so we can feel okay about failing, without ever having tried in the first place.
Self-identifying as a writer is frightening and I’m not sure if the feeling of being a fraud ever goes away (maybe more experienced writers can weigh in on this one), but I am a writer. I’m flying by the seat of my pants, but I am a writer. The only way I’m going to make my goals into a reality instead of dreams, is to put in the work, including submitting to contests and publishing solicitations, and that means refocusing the purpose of this blog. I promise to provide links once I am published, but won’t be updating my best work to this blog regularly if it is not. I will do my best to build a presence through posts like these, which I also hope to be a little more interactive than simply placing a story up and disappearing.