Monday, 21 July 2014

Me-Cramp by Ruth Symes

 My husband's been doing a lot of website and photography work recently and watching a lot of You Tube videos - especially about different photographic techniques. But one of the videos I walked in on and caught part of really surprised me:
'That sounds exactly like writer's block!' l said.

The speaker was talking about problems that photographers face and questions they’re burdened by.

Will it be good enough?
Am I good enough?
Am I secretly kidding myself that I’m good enough?
Is everyone else’s work better than mine?
Are they more talented than me?
Will my photos (writing) be original/creative/stylish/professional enough?
Will other people (Mum, Dad, teachers friends someone who was a bit critical once and I’ve never forgotten about it - ad infinitum) like my work? And really I suppose – will they like me?
Have I got it right, not just right, exactly exactly...perfectly completely utterly right.

They called it Me-Cramp but I think of it as the Photographer's Writer's Block. And I expect there’s the same thing for every creative job – Artist’s Anxiety, Dancer’s Dilema, Actor’s stage fright…(Although I like the Me-Cramp term best as it says exactly what it is and is so spot on.)

As well as the Me-Cramp talk there were lots of discussions about the importance of putting heart and passion in your work. Being true to yourself  owning it.

But the Me-Cramp question asked loudly and boldly or in a tiny weeny voice always seemed to be the same:

'Am I good enough?'

And the answer is: 'Of course you are.' J

Ruth Symes also writes as Megan Rix winner of Stockton-on-Tees children's book of the year 2014 and Shrewsbury Bookfest 2014.


Stroppy Author said...

'Me- cramp' is as great term! But it's not restricted to artistic endeavour. I know a biologist who has it every now and then: is my research good enough? will I be able to write this paper? am I capable of doing this? Isn't it just a crisis of self-confidence, which is a universal human condition?

catdownunder said...

I wish it was just a crisis of self-confidence - from where I sit it seems like an insurmountable gap between writing and writing so well that someone else wants to publish it. But it is good to be reminded that other areas of endeavour also suffer from "Me-cramp"!

Richard said...

There's a lot of different quotes of this with all the fiddly bits cut out, but I think the original is powerful by itself.

Ira Glass on "The Gap":

Nick Green said...

I think writer's block / me-cramp is a good sign. It seems to affect the more self-critical, i.e the ones who set themselves higher standards. If we went through life constantly thinking, 'This is brilliant! I'm brilliant!' then it would very quickly, in most cases, stop being true. (Though there are those who can write two brilliant novels a year, or even more).

The cat (she is in one of her more prickly moods) suggests that there are plenty of writers out there who could do with suffering a bit more me-cramp than they currently do.