White blank page

Some mornings you just have nothing to write. The words have deserted you. The muse has not only flown, but has ransacked your house and taken your passport, bank-card and – if you’re lucky – the children too. You are empty and devoid of any creative thoughts.

It’s not as if writing is a profitable and investment-rich opportunity. The old truths are crumbling. The publishing industry knows no more than you, and, although more people than ever are reading, no single author is picking more than pennies.

You’re a long, long way even from that stage anyway. You’ve still got your first draft to complete, and you’re old enough and bitter and wary enough to know that you’re going to get savaged, mauled and eviscerated by your test-readers before it’s anything like ready to earn those pennies.

You know all this and you do it anyway.

It’s on mornings like this that writing becomes a job and not a calling. This is what separates the successful from the aspirants. The ability to knuckle down and do the job – because it is a job – when the passion’s lacking, when the world is oppressing and cold and fragile.

But mornings like this – I do wonder why I’m wasting my time on something with such little prospect of reward. When I know I have to write but can’t find anything but blankness inside. I think of all the other things I could be doing. I think of taking the morning off. I think of moving house, moving country – of getting out, one way or another.

But then I fire up my manuscript, see where I’ve got to in my novel – and I damn well go back to work.

Because I’m a writer. This is what I do. Good days, bad days – they don’t matter. What matters is to suck it up and do it anyway.

Someone stick the kettle on. This is going to take a little time.

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