Write like nobody is reading (but hope to God they are)...
October 1, 2016
Apologies, apologies, apologies! I’ve been off the grid again lately as far as blogging is concerned. I read somewhere that you’re not supposed to apologise and make excuses for your lack of blog posts; you just pick up where you left off and write like you’ve never been away. But you know me; I never was one to do what I’m told. And I’m almost certain to be off the grid a little bit more. ‘Hooray!’ I hear you cry. Well, that’s rude. So here are my excuses (take a seat, this may take a while. About 900 words to be exact *deafening sound of lots of laptops shutting*). I’ve been editing the third and final book in my trilogy. I’d put off picking it up over the summer, because once I start writing, I find it immensely hard to stop. To the detriment of my home life and…well everything else, really. When I’m writing or editing, I find it hard to want to do anything but that. You want a hot meal? Oh for God’s sake, what’s wrong with a sandwich? You want a clean uniform? What’s that crumpled lump of material on the floor? Scotch mist? I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to see people, I only want to do this. We’ve had some beautiful, warm and sunny days (almost a thing of myth and legend) here in England, but I’m to be found stuck inside in a darkened room, curtains drawn, and laptop hot from overuse.
I’m probably four-fifths of the way through a first edit. I think it’s a first edit, but it’s hard to be sure. I’m not exactly one to write a book from beginning to end and then go back and fix it. Before it’s even done, I go back and pop bits in, chop bits out – all the way along. In case I forget something. And then it’s just a big old mess. Although (if I say so myself), the story is fundamentally good; there have been massive structural errors to put right, the puzzle has been near-impossible to piece together, and the amount of research I’ve had to do is staggering. If the police ever searched my laptop and looked at my search history, there would be some stiff questions to ask me (don’t worry, I have no intention of murdering anybody as far as I know). But I’m trying not to criticise myself too much for these epic plot gaffs that I’m now having to correct. What is it they say? ‘Write like you’re drunk. Edit like you’re sober’? Well, I must have been completely bloody smashed when I wrote this book…
Still, although challenging, I’m actually enjoying it though; the editing process. When you finally manage to make the mixed-up ‘rubik’s cube’ of your book into matching-sided, cohesive-coloured entity – that’s very gratifying. It’s the same with a blog post for me, really – but on a much smaller scale. I wish I could be like this about other things – y’know, driven. I’m not, though. I could only put this much (possibly wasted) energy into writing. That being said, I’ve got this odd feeling that I might never do this again. I would ‘never say never’, but once this trilogy is over (there will NOT be a fourth), I’m not sure that I’ll be inspired to start all over again. Yes, I’ve always written off and on since I was a kid, but I feel like what I am trying to do is just tick one important thing off my bucket list (important to me, anyway). Here’s the deal: I once had a story in my head, I wanted to put it on down on paper. Then I thought I’d let other people read it too. And once the story has been told (once I’ve finished this final book and pressed ‘publish’), then that’s that job jobbed (as my mum would say). That box is ticked. And I don’t know what’s next on the list after that. I’m not sure if there’s another story even rattling around up there. I hope I’m wrong; I’d like to think writing is in my blood and will be a lifelong thing, but nothing is ever certain. Still, if I ever get sent to prison (probably due to my weird search history), then that’s what I’ll spend my entire time doing. Writing. If they let me have any paper.
Anyway, that’s where I’ve been and what I have been doing and am still doing. I miss being here chatting to you guys, but I only have so much creative energy, and right now, that energy is being focused on the book. I love the blog; I credit the blog for helping me find my overall groove – what works for me. And the title of this post is the way I found that groove. I do write like nobody is watching (then I have to edit like the entire world is [they’re not, though]). But I stopped worrying about how I should be writing and blogging, and just wrote in the way I wanted to write. Adele on speed – times one hundred. Damn the consequences.
I’ve perhaps been a little too self-deprecating in some recent posts. How I’ve never amounted to anything. How I’ve never achieved anything. All true statements. But sometimes you’ve got to look at the positives. I was discussing careers with my eldest daughter and how it is so hard to choose the right subjects when you don’t really know at sixteen-years-old what you’d actually like to be. So my daughter, who seems exceptionally driven for her age, asked me, ‘what did you want to be when you were sixteen?’. I told her I wanted to be a writer – even then. And lack of personal achievement and paid-writing aside, I suppose I am a writer. Of sorts. Well, perhaps a writer who only ever published one idea. What officially defines us as a writer? I don’t know. But right now, I write books. I publish them. People read them (a couple of people). I write blogs. I publish them. People read them (a couple of people). So officially, I kind of do what I set out to do – without the big cash rewards. But hey, it’s a start. So I’ll try to pop in when I can. ‘Boo!’ I hear you cry. Again, rude. If I’ve got something of worth or interesting to say (or something particularly stupid happens to me), I’ll be here to tell you all about it. I may deem it something of worth or interesting, you may not. You just never know which way it’s going to go.