Intermission

Apologies for the erratic posting recently. I got married at the weekend and am spending a few days off with the other half. It’s lovely to be able to take the time just with her, but it does take a toll on the old writing.

Writing requires regular commitment. After only two weeks away from the page I’m finding it hard to get going. For the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long I’m catching myself looking for excuses not to write. But at the same time I’m feeling an enormous pressure to get on with things. I’ve got work to do. I’m mid-project and these few days off are perfect for getting down to it.

But thinking is hard work and the brain is lazy. How many times to you actually think, actually work your mind every day? Not many. It’s so easy to go through life on automatic that weeks can pass without doing any actual brain-work. You have to train your mind into the habit – and that, as much as anything else, is what writing is. It’s thinking, it’s working; it’s finding that moment when the brakes come off and you find the flow – where the mind ticks into a higher gear and you can sweep a perfect paragraph onto the page.

And so I’m struggling to find the will because being comfortable and loved and lazy are so pleasant. But the tendency to be idle is bashing against my love of writing and my guilt – I think that’s the right emotion – at not getting words down. So I am gritting my teeth and I’m beginning to realise how determined I am to get this work done. Not because I have to but because I want to. Because I love to create.

But of course the missus comes first. We’re going on a mini-moon tomorrow, just a few days away to celebrate – please don’t for a moment feel all this angst and firstworldproblemery comes from anything other than the joy of the marriage and my beloved – and I’ll be missing writing again.

Monday. I’ll be back and working on Monday, and every weekday thereafter.

Something in the way

The planning continues. The grey matter is stretched, twanging like elastic until one breaks and the mind is catapulted back to its starting point. The work is endless, relentless. And I’ve also got a novel to rewrite.

See, I’m getting married in six weeks, and this has caused some degree of disruption to my habitually disorganised routine. Arranging music, guests and the bar – that last a not insignificant concern – I expected. I did not, however, expect to be taken out for a grey-skied stroll with my intended so that the photographer could get some ‘lifestyle shots’ pre-wedding. To be honest I wasn’t even aware that I had a lifestyle, let alone that it was worth recording.

And then in September I start a new job. This will increase my working hours by a third. Great for the old bank balance. Not so good for writing.

That’s life. That’s (apparently) what people say. Everybody out there who’s struggling to make it as a writer has commitments; family, friends, work – all are more ‘important’ than your unproductive scribblings. It’s not likely you’ll be able to earn enough through writing fiction to leave the cubicle (or desk, or van – whatever) behind. Picture it for a moment: twenty years on, still in exactly the same position. Maybe with a bit of a reputation behind you, a string of moderately successful publications to your name – and yet you’re still doing the same old job because you don’t want the distraction of a career.

This is where you need to grit your teeth and get your determination on. To reassure yourself that you’re writing because you want to, not for the material benefits. This is where I need to knuckle down and work out a new routine. Strategies have to change. I read a lot of interviews with authors that get up an hour earlier than they need to get some writing done. Is this a viable option for me? Or will my finely-honed laziness-skills thwart such a plan? Will the long-threatened purchase of a laptop incite me to work through breaks and lunchtimes?

Something will work. Something will have to work. I’ve barely begun this writing thing; seven years? That’s nothing. This is a lifelong commitment and this is just another stretch of tyre-shredding gravel on the long road to fulfilment. And this time I’m not talking about marriage. I ain’t half as introspective about that as I am about writing, which should probably tell you something.

Anyway, time to roll my sleeves up and get to it. Make hay while the sun shines. And other assorted metaphors/clichés.

See you next week, boys and girls. Maybe I’ll even have something writing-related to communicate…