I am joined today by Irish writer, filmmaker and award-winning author Caroline Farrell.
Caroline had written her wonderful post for my regular #IrishWritersWed feature, due to be posted on 18th October, but Hurricane Ophelia made her presence felt. I was left with no internet/WiFi for a week. Huge apologies to Caroline BUT……Fantastic news since….
On October 25th Caroline’s novel, LADY BETH, won Novel of the Year at the Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors 2017 (The CAP Awards).
I want to wish Caroline congratulations on this fabulous news and feel very honoured to have her feature on Swirl and Thread today with a fabulous post entitled ‘Moonstruck in make-believe, and carrying on regardless…’
I do hope you enjoy….
by Caroline Farrell
In the literary community, judgement and critique go hand in hand with putting work out there. It can be so difficult for us writers to learn to cope with the accompanying self-doubt, when, let’s be honest, we are generally a tad sensitive, albeit creative souls.
Tough on the nerves too, those conversations about the angst, the torment, and the terror of being misunderstood, or worse, the nightmare of our work being ignored. We can be unhappy with our output, or disappointed in what we create.
For reasons that are personal, physical, or external, writing can turn into a painful process, and in extreme cases, the uncertainty may stop some of us from putting pen to paper altogether. Erica Jong once said that “Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you’ll never write a line.” Her comments carry weight. In such a competitive field, saturated with books, pressure-cooked contracts and commitments, writers constantly let the other voices in, and in so doing, run the risk of self-sabotage. Of losing confidence.
No matter how much we detest or fear the truth of it, our work competes for approval, for shelf space, for reviews, for awards, for sales. There are also plenty of gatekeepers and critics out there to tell us where we fit, or where they think we ought to fit. These are the last thoughts we need or ought to be dwelling upon when we willingly give over so many hours of our lives to what is essentially, daydreaming. To unreal worlds, where make-believe characters come to life with the words and actions that we impose upon them.
We sign off on that final draft, taking time to debrief from our fantasy world and its characters that we have obsessed over for so long, and hope for the best as we drink the celebratory tea or fizz. But, even as we breathe through the waiting space, hoping to receive the feedback we desire, the accolades, the positive reviews, there are no guarantees, ever, that the lovely sentences we string together with such conviction will have any impact at all. Success, which can be personally defined in so many, different ways, is a moveable feast. So, with all this vacillation coming at us, and from within us, how do we maintain a semblance of self-belief? How do we carry on writing, regardless?
There is no definitive solution of course, for every writer is an individual who treats their craft, and its associated problems, exclusively. I can only speak for my own experience, and how I keep going; by immersing in the make-believe and blocking out the listening world with that big old comfortable blanket of my imagination. I call this my moonstruck phase, a crazy, magnificent, explorative space of ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’! And while I am there, I remind myself that life is terminable. That on my deathbed, I won’t dare exit with the final thought that my self-imposed fear or self-doubt stopped me from writing my stories. I also remind myself that being a writer is a gift, intrinsic to my identity, though simply being able to write is not enough. To share and to expose a part of me through my work, something else is required; bravery. I keep in mind that I never started out with the promise of publication, that I write for process and not product. For love and not reward. That I write with the understanding that my worldview is unique, and as I sharpen my innate skills, even with a finite amount of words, no-one will string them together in quite the same way that I do.
I remember that there are no new ideas, only my unique expression of them, and I never forget the importance of inspiration. Of putting down the pen, of powering off the laptop now and again. Of just being. Living. Listening. Experiencing. Capturing. Of seeing the wonder in the mundane. The pain of normalcy. The beauty in the broken. Most importantly though, I think of the one word that describes my reason for writing. Connection. To my experience. To my ways of seeing. To MY discerning reader.
‘For whom does the writer write?’ asked Margaret Atwood in her wonderful book, Negotiating with the Dead. “For the Reader. For the reader who is not THEM, but YOU. For the dear Reader.” And I begin, again.
Caroline E. Farrell is a writer and filmmaker from Dublin, Ireland. Author of the novel, LADY BETH, recent winner of Best Novel at The CAP Awards 2017, and ARKYNE, STORY OF A VAMPIRE, she has also written several feature length and short screenplays including ADAM  and the multi-award winning IN RIBBONS .
Caroline, a qualified Librarian, now works as a freelance Cultural Event Manager and holds a H Dip in Adult Education. She is a member of the Writers Guild of Ireland, the Irish Writers Union and The Irish Film and Television Academy.
Beth Downes is a quiet, unassuming woman. Attractive, though careless in her appearance, she works hard, living only for her teenage son, Jesse. But Beth has been keeping secrets and when Jessie dies following a drug-fuelled night out, a very different woman emerges. Beth had always refused to tell Jesse who his father was, an issue that they fought about just before his death. Now, compounded by grief, guilt, regret and the need to find out the truth of who is responsible for her son’s death, she will journey back to her old life, before Jesse, to a sordid past, and to the man she tried so desperately to forget. She has come full circle, and with nothing left now but her memories, the need for revenge scratches inside her veins.
Lady Beth is an urban thriller
Purchase Link ~ Lady Beth