Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I had to smile when I saw this. The mind of a writer, yes. Not sure about the terrifying part, and caffeine-addled is going too far: I’ve cut down, honest. But everything else is spot-on.

Isolated: No one around here to talk to that’s not covered in fur and fast asleep with their noses under their tails, so that’s a given. It possibly accounts for the neurotic part too – the company of other people can be intrusive when not wanted but it also goes a long way towards counteracting the introspection and the over-blowing of problems. Sensible people have absolutely no sympathy when you slap the back of your hand to your forehead and moan softly just because you can’t find the right words.

Crippled by procrastination: Yep. I’ve done more cryptic crosswords and killer sudokus in the last few days than I want to confess. I’ve had a hard job banishing the ghoul parked on my shoulder – that legacy of fourth form English classes where all traces of creativity and freedom were stifled, never again to bloom unrestricted by all the ingrained shoulds and mustn’ts of enthusiasm-choking, old school teaching. Out with the lot of you, I’ve told you before, now scat!

And then there’s the weather. Suddenly it got cold and then came a mighty storm. This morning I had to go out in the still-lashing rain and haul out the three metre high blackboy peach tree that had fallen across the lawn and several shrubs. That is probably the end of the tree, which had leaned precariously towards the house after one of the bigger earthquakes and had been cut down but which had re-sprouted bravely and, this year, produced three peaches. Can anyone expect me to write in those conditions?

Feelings of panic: Oh dear, yes. Looked at the date of the last blogpost – too long ago. The novel is stalled halfway through chapter thirteen – but on the bright side I’ve been reading over what I’ve done so far and it’s sort of OK – I think, but what do I know? I’ll never get it done …

Self-loathing: All writers question their ability, their judgment and their sanity at some time. All writers and  probably all painters, musicians, athletes, teachers, wood-carvers, lawyers, plumbers and you-name-it as well. That’s life. It’s part of the angst – the waah! I’m-no-good-at-this syndrome.

Soul-crushing inadequacy: It’s difficult enough to cope with the everyday, innate difficulties of being a writer without taking on extra ones that we impose on ourselves, like the in-built self-censoring, the doubts, the despair and the inability to ignore the great big sign that says “STOP! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?”   

And that’s on a good day:  Yes, I’m definitely having a good day.

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