Friday, 27 January 2012


I'm making one of these for myself this weekend.
The subject writers most commonly write about is probably procrastination.  There are a million reasons not to write.  Some of mine currently are; the 40 hour a week job that I need to pay for the wedding, the wedding (organising invites, sorting hotels for the family, blah, blah), not spending so much time in front of the laptop and more with my goes on. 

I often ask my partner 'What's the difference between a reason and an excuse?' (this pops up a lot when we argue, funnily enough).  No one would say, I'm guessing, that I shouldn't spend more quality time with her rather than watching the telly or fannying about on Twitter.   The point is, my only real reason to write is in the hope of freedom.  I spend so much time in front of the laptop now in the hope that, in the future, all that time invested will have left me with a life where I can write a few hours a day and then have all the rest of the day to do what the hell I like.  All too often though, I forget that and occasionally I need to be reminded.  It's at times like these that I need a kick up the arse.

My wife to be is good at this.  God knows I don't like hearing it (I feel ashamed, like when I used to get told off by the teachers at school).  We're getting married, we live in a one bedroom flat that is struggling to contain all our shit and we're both hitting 40 this year.  I need to be a provider, both for her and, should we be lucky enough at our age, for a child that comes along.  And that child will need to be inspired by the choices that I made - it won't want a father that too regularly comes home frustrated and embittered because he was too scared to try and get the things that he wanted.  Scared to fail mostly.  A worry that, in the light of a short existence of 80 years give or take, seems ridiculous.

As a footnote on failure, I would also like to say thanks to an old friend who spotted that I had failed to keep to the resolution in my last post.  Like I said, sometimes I need the kick up the arse.  Thanks Sam.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Practice, Practice, Practice

This man has been hitting the keys HARD
If you read sites about or devoted to writing, they all say that you've got to practice.  As I've been scratching around for a new years resolution, practice is mine.  There's been a month between this blog post and the last.  That doesn't feel good enough, especially when I know that people are returning again and again to read the blog (Blogger stats back this up).  So from now on Sunday night is blog night.    If you're thinking of writing for a living, it's a good idea to practice.  I once wrote the first six chapters of a book by making sure I had an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening in front of a laptop.  Rules were, it didn't matter how many words I got down (but weirdly, there is something about sitting in front of a keyboard that will eventually produce something) and I could only eat something once the hour's work was done.  The carrot was literally being dangled. 

I need to practice because, to 'fess up, I've got little interest in writing presently.  I'm too comfortable.  The day job I took on the picture desk at the Mail, justifying to myself that it would only be for a year or so as I had a wedding to pay for, has come to be a regular 9-5.  I'm still freelance so there's zero job security but I have to admit, the regular paychecks make things easier for me.  It is stressful to be in debt and it's certainly nice to be able to pay for a wedding.  Not to mention going to the pub on a Friday, standing a few rounds and getting some grub because there's naff all in the fridge and you can't be arsed to cook after a long week.  In the current climate you feel lucky to even have a regular job.  Despite the money, the routine of the work makes life feel a bit dull.  I do the same walk to work every day, into the same office, with the same people and every week we put together a magazine that is more or less the same.

Which should, hopefully, prove motivation enough to get back to the writing.  There are not many jobs where you can work on a different subject every day, but journalism is one.   There is a plan of sorts and I'm going through the motions of that.  Even though I don't consider myself superstitious, I don't want to write it down here out of FEAR.  My fear is that if it doesn't work out, I'll look like a mug.  But equally, what is the point in caring what other people think?  And should we be afraid to fail anyway?  I think I've just given myself some subjects for the next blog post.  See, the practice is proving productive already.  See you next week.