Am now in the process of writing my second. Doing this in alignment with a full-time job can be slow going, like a mason chipping away at a delicate sculpture whilst being booted up the arse by a goat every day. Am also working on my similes.
My first opus took a long time. To paraphrase the great Blackadder’s Prince George when celebrating Dr. Johnstone’s completion of the first ever dictionary, which took him ten years, ‘well, I’m a slow reader myself’. For my part I struggled to find my writing style and therefore came up with what seemed to be a pretty damned excellent approach – put my computer away and barely write for the next two years, spending money on fast booze and slow women. The rest of it, I wasted. It’s not exactly a tried and tested method, I grant you.
However, abandoning ship just meant the ideas fermented slowly, and writing pulled me back in the end. It’s a cyclical oddity that you can’t write because you haven’t found your voice, but you can’t find your voice without writing in the first place. Writing short pieces in the interim made things far easier, as too has blogging consistently to establish a rhythm. So, whether it’s writing letters, writing blogs, writing poetry or writing anything, you have to practice.
The notable difference this time (other than not being hungover constantly) is the amount I read. I’ve consumed more books in the last three months than I have in five years. This is simply sharpening the tools of the trade, reviewing the styles and wordsmithery of published and successful authors. I never thought of reading books as study for writing, but it is in the most literal sense (hardy ha ha). If you’re imbibing from the deep wells of knowledge collected over hundreds of years across cultures and countries, how can this not benefit?
I have several friends that have books in them, but they not only lack the discipline, they lack the desire. Although everyone will re-iterate that the former is far more important, defining a routine and a schedule, I would side with the latter. If you have the desire to write, you barely need a routine as you’ll be drawn to it. But whatever your aims, keep writing. Now, whilst the rain belts down, some tea and biscuits await. They obviously help in some way ha ha
Writing and writing...