So it’s a regular cold and grey Wednesday here in Northern England, and i’ve spent most of it sat by the computer and writing up the last few parts of my novel. I’ve had to push down all of my other ideas and projects to ensure I get this all down. It’s been eight days since i’ve written it, and I didn’t want to wait to work on something else and forget all about it.
My day has been filled with: snakes, panel shows, and dead celebrities. Reading over it all sends a little signal to my brain that asks whether a sound mind usually comes up with this sort of stuff, and I defend my creativity due to its unique and cathartic qualities. I read that writing can have a therapeutical quality to it, which is something I definitely agree with. How else can you fly away from your problems and see the world? How else can you go on amazing adventures with a laceless shoestring budget? Then there’s writing horrendous violent scenes. It’s your own mental gym, where access requires you participate and keep honest.
Today has also been filled with lots of different music, to try and jostle me out of the muddy waters of creative self-doubt. Currently i’m listening to The Devil and the Almighty Blues, as I take a break from a 3000 writing stint. It’s that groovy, hip-swaying, Morrison-style you can’t help but shimmy along to.
I’m really looking forward to finishing this draft, and letting people read over it and hopefully point out every possible problem, while I work on something else. I’ve gone through every stage of writing a novel, and now i’m just excited to let it stew for a while. Having it looming over my shoulder, waiting to get out there and find its agent and market do tend to distract me from reality and other works.
I’m still extremely proud of the book, and not too surprised to see something so strange and sinister find its way into my mind, i’m just fortunate enough to get it down on paper. Now five drafts later it’s found its shape and structure, and i’m looking forward to doing something different.
I have ideas for what i’d like to do next in this world, as i’ve found its own unique laws and rules, which means I don’t have to worry and can focus on trying to figure out how to do something else. I don’t want to find myself stuck in one genre, constantly rubbing shoulders with the tried and tested people who understand this particular channel of thought, I want to find a new stream, and connect to other strangers, and introduce myself to new ways of thinking.
I’ve come out of writing this book knowing as Socrates would smugly point out that I know nothing of the world. Like the characters in my story I only know my experience of the world, and i’m trying to break away from the things that are familiar, and explore new territories, not just in literature but life in general.
I’m a Northern Englishman, which means I had little choice but to grow up in a society which looked indifferently at the unknown world around me, and in my own way I turned that indifference towards myself, isolating myself from opportunities that could have helped me grow.
I’ve always had a love affair with the world, but the more I explore myself through my work, the more I see inconsistencies and plot holes in certain aspects of my learning and development. Naturally I turn everything I can into art, tearing it apart, while the floodlights glare down, exposing the underlying issues at its core.
Honest writing is therapeutic, and as a result you can’t help but wonder how you’ve gotten to these moments thinking the way you do. It’s a testament to the wondrous complex stupidity that is the human mind.
I am proud to say that I was a stupid teenager, looking for support and validation in all of the wrong places, while worrying that I may not be that good of a person. Oddly enough despite the issues I had, I was a smart child, which may have led to me struggling as a teenager. People don’t seem to appreciate children who pay attention to adults outside of the classroom. I am glad to say that the observant behaviour hasn’t been lost on me, and i’m still very much at home watching people react off one another.
I have slowly realised that i’m stronger than I like to give myself credit, as people like to point out, and that comes with people coming to me for advice. Questions are one of languages greater aspects, allowing people to react off one another, changing slightly in the process.
A friend of mine asked me about getting back into writing, saying that she had these ideas, and she wanted to get them down. I started by telling her the unfortunate truth that ideas are the easy part, and if you wanted to see progress you have to write them down. It’s one of the most overlooked rules of writing.
You have to accept your first draft is going to be crap, so you run at it full force, pen in hand and screaming. That mocking part of your brain like a Rob Schneider cameo is going say all sorts of things to distract you, but you just have to let it say its peace, while you keep writing away. It’s going to be crap anyway, so you don’t have to worry about going over and correcting anything, just keep writing, word after word.
We talked about daily word limits, blogs, and writing sites, which are all important in keeping that part of the brain flexible. Brains have a habit of trying to get out of doing new things, but if you keep at it for long enough they seem to appear more and more often, pushing you aside as they take over, like a parent trying to stop you embarrassing yourself.
I have whole chapters appear from somewhere, usually when i’m stuck in one of those uncreative days, where your bones tell you its ok to give up. I think its that silly little voice again, trying to sound all sympathetic and serious, but still desperately trying to stop you working. It’s lying, there isn’t a right creative moment, just those brilliant times when you work on regardless. You end up gaining all this extra energy, wondering what you were so worried about.
My advice is to ignore that funny little voice who will try anything to stop you doing something productive, and just give it a try. Nothing’s going to be perfect right away, and there at times you’re going to hit the wall and want to stop, but remember to do so for you, be proud of your achievements that day. That mischievous Loki voice will try and steal that away from you too, but like every other bullshitter who comes along and tells you that you can’t, you smile and keep on going after your dreams.
If you’ve liked what you read and want to support me while I make stuff up for a living then head over to my Patreon and give me some money to buy a coffee or a pen or something. If not I hope you’ve done something creative today, and try and share it, who knows you may just encourage someone else to try something.