Sunday, 28 January 2007

Writer's Block

Why have I started this blog? Well, I can get pretty bitter at times, though hopefully not twisted. Now and again, I'll write up some entertaining little incidents from my history that will illustrate this, and explain why I sometimes believe God is out to get me (paranoid, moi? No, just a deduction from the observed facts - I'll explain sometime).

But actually, I've got writer's block. At this point, the astute reader (assuming s/he knows my name) will think something along the lines of: "But you've never had anything published!" Well yes, of course not, I've got writer's block, haven't I?

I've always wanted to write, and back when I was a teenager and in my twenties I did a fair bit of scribbling. I had a Smith-Corona manual portable typewriter for years. Boy, I hated that thing, with its keys that sometimes stuck together and its misaligned typebars (I must have been hitting it too hard). Though at least I could read the output - you should see my handwriting! I remember leaving it behind when I moved house in 1995. At that point, I hadn't used it in years - my urge to write had gotten lost - I no longer believed I could do it, at least not the sort of thing I wanted to write. Writing science fiction, at least good science fiction, ain't as easy as it looks, and after having all the short stories I wrote rejected by the magazine I submitted them to, I lost faith in my writing. And anyway, I had a parallel interest in playing guitar - I had and have much more faith in my skills there, rightly or not, so I concentrated more on that. A professional writer would say I gave up too easily - I should have kept writing, submitted my stories to more than one magazine, kept writing, kept writing. They would be absolutely right, of course.

Anyway, the typewriter era had come to an end, but in 1997 I got my first home PC. At that point I started thinking about writing again, and started plotting a novel titled "A Thousand Years Between" (spot the Led Zeppelin reference?). I still have the background notes, which may turn out to be relevant to the current project, and I wrote the prologue and part of the first chapter. Then I stopped and spent a year or more playing Civilisation II. Then I bought a home recording studio and started recording a bunch of songs I'd written - that occupied much of my spare time for a couple of years (another unfinished project). Then I spent six months imitating an alcoholic. Then I started up a part-time internet bookselling business (still running to this day). Now I'm in the middle of starting another band. It's amazing the lengths some people will go to, to avoid writing....

Still, I managed some writing in 2006. Back in 2005, I went out for drinks a couple of times with a girl named Sarah, who is a freelance writer and budding novelist. She encouraged me to write again, and in January 2006 I hit the ground running, writing four or five hundred words a day for the first few days. After that I slowed down, but over the course of 2006 I produced forty thousand words, more than I'd managed in the previous 20 years. Thirty thousand words of a novel, "Secret Histories", a few thousand words of a related short story, "Process", plus some background material. Then it all fizzled out in November, but I'm not sure why. And now I just can't seem to get started again.

So there it is - I've started this blog because it may get me in the habit of writing again. I might even have some interesting things to say occasionally.

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