Friday, 8 February 2013

Me Me Me

Sorry: this is going to be all about me again. I hate whining, but talking about myself inevitably turns into some kind of whine or moan (just a thought, how about 'whoan' as a word? A cross between a whine and a moan. No? Okay...). Then again I have been talking about recent changes in my writing and I hope they've been useful to you. I reiterate that hope today.

As I've said before, I feel like my writing stamina has improved since my relatively long blog-a-day stint last month. My impetus to write, however, seems to obey its own rules. One day I feel like I've got nothing, am never going to have anything and should give up the idea of being a writer, then the next day I write a couple of bits of fiction and some other none fiction. The day after may be more of an ideas day than a writing one. Today it has been reasonably hard.

I think forcing yourself to do things when you don't want to is  pretty easy. In terms of writing anyway... In terms of my diet, it's far too easy to over-eat and most of the time, love or money wouldn't be enough to get me out on a jog, for example. But anyway, when writing, I've taken the message that it's okay to write shit, as long as you're writing (ta Chris Beckett), and I don't feel writer's block when working on a new piece.

HERE IS THE MOAN: I'm still so annoyed at myself that I can't finish things. Can't or won't, I don't really know (hmm, seems like we could've done with another contraction in that sentence...). I'd say of all the ideas I've ever had, I've probably started a third of them? Maybe a bit more. Then of that third, I've probably finished... blimey... I can't decide if it's more like a fifth or a tenth... Well, at best, of the overall number I finish around a thirtieth of all the ideas I have. I don't think that's a reliable figure at all, but I'm trying. It's terrible though - I drive my writing snowplow into the avalanche, make a decent dent, and then just stop. Later on, start work on another avalanche, make decent headway again then stop. A year later, so many first drafts have been started then just been ignored...

Part of this is due to confidence. I tell myself some things aren't worth further work, when maybe they are. Also, I get so excited about new projects, so older ones just naturally fall by the wayside. It's stupid though, I'm being all 'high and mighty' about writing more, but it's like making a meal. Sure it's great if you make loads of different dishes, but if you don't finish them then you've really wasted a lot of (good?) stuff. Bah, I dunno, I'm just not in a great mood... Again taking some advice from Chris, he says stories can have a long gestation period (twenty years, in the case of one of his), so maybe I shouldn't worry so much. It's hard to take good advice to heart, though, when negative emotion soaks in easier than red wine on a white carpet.

It could all be part of my process. Maybe it's part of yours? Since there are no definite yeses here, however, if you don't mind I'll just assume the worst and go drink and cry and whoan into the wind.


  1. I think we all have writing lapses, for varying reasons. I think the bundle of "unfinished" works is a common dilemma for all writers. I think it's a great thing. It shows we are trying for something, and that we actually have ideas. Great chefs have admitted to botching thousands of recipes before they actually develop those signature dishes for which they are known. Same theory can apply for the writer - we may have to botch thousands of scripts before we find that one script that we believe in. So, do your thing, and drink, cry, whoan... and once that is out of your system, pick up that pen again (or the laptop). :-)

    1. If I were religious, I'd thank God for you. You're breath of very fresh air in a stale world!

      On an unrelated note, where do you stand on the techno debate? Are you never off the laptop or do you like writing things on paper?


Just keep it clean (ish)!