A hundred words of absolute rubbish were sent off this morning by yours truly to a quick ‘flash card’ competition. The weird thing is that when I wrote those hundred and thirty words, then chopped them back to size, lovingly put them in an email and waved them off, I thought they were great. Hilarious. Bound to win. No doubt about it.
However, I have just read over those words again to re-congratulate myself on such a short, but sweet piece and I now find them atrocious. Ridiculous. Embarrassingly awful. Bound to have the judges rolling around in fits of laughter at me and certainly not with me as I had initially imagined.
I wonder how this happens. Am I the only one to write a text I love, then turn around a few hours later and tell it how much I hate its guts? That I am ashamed of it. Ashamed to be its genitrix. Disgusted by its lack of lustre and sparkle, wit and charm. Ready to disown it and leave it on someone else’s doorstep with no name or address on a string around its neck.
Or is this just part of the writing game? This game that I have only been playing for a few months. The one where, unfortunately, the rules are nowhere to be found but made up as the players go along. Where nobody sporting a bright green writers’ team t-shirt actually knows what’s supposed to be happening. I assume that this text-cum-self-loathing part feels similar to a hockey stick being taken on the chin or a studded boot on the shin. It really hurts, it makes you bleed, and it almost drives you to give up the stupid game forever.
Almost but not quite, because Optimism comes on as substitute at this point and brings the game back to life for a few important minutes. Just enough time to imagine that the next piece will be better. Maybe great. Extraordinarily wonderful even. Something to share with pride and pleasure. Something to carry your name.
So you sit back down on your faded sofa and start moving your fingertips over the keyboard once more, until you love what you’ve written again. Or like it. Or quite like it. A bit. A little bit.