Monday 24 September 2012

shake your arm and use your form....

Neil Gaiman always says that whenever people ask him how they become a writer, his response is simple: write.  It's pretty hard to argue with that, isn't it?

I spend a lot of time writing: it forms quite a large part of my working day and then, when I get home in the evening, I usually spend a bit of time in front of my computer blogging.  I like to think that I'm pretty good at writing, and I suppose I probably pride myself on it.  When we get down to brass tacks though, I don't really do any truly creative writing.  I create a lot of words, every day, but I don't write creatively.

This has to change.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my future over the last few days.  I've spent fifteen years working in a corporate environment, this isn't something that I ever really intended to fall into and it's suddenly, belatedly dawned on me that it certainly isn't something that I want to do forever.

I pride myself on doing as good a job as I can, but I lack ambition in the sense that I have no wish to be the head of my department, never mind managing director or anything like that (even if I loathe seeing what I see as mediocrity being promoted past me).  I earn a decent wage.  I could no doubt be earning more if I had moved companies every so often, but I'm not motivated by the extra money and I'm certainly too lazy to put up with the extra hassle any such move would likely entail.

What I really want to do is to write.  It's all I've ever really wanted to do.  It's one of the reasons that I blog: it's a creative act that flexes muscles that I rarely use in the course of my job.  I've never really thought that I could make money out of writing, and I don't want to ever write purely for money.  I write for fun.

It's just occurred to me - and you probably realised this about me years ago - that my job stops me writing as much as I'd like to, but equally my blog stops me spending the time I do have really trying to write creatively.

I'd like to give up my job, and maybe I will.... but whether I do that or not, I really need to start spending a bit more of my time just writing: fiction; short stories; poetry, even.  Anything.  Fragments.  Just anything as long as it's creating.  I just need to find out if I can actually write.  Maybe I'll do some courses, or join some writing groups, perhaps I'll even end up doing an MA.  I just have to have something else in my life.  I need to learn about structure and plotting and dialogue and all sorts of things... but given time, maybe I can learn those.

So yeah.  To cut a long story short, I might spend a bit less time around here and a bit more time trying to just write.  I haven't decided yet if I'll publish anything that I do write on here.  Maybe I will.  Maybe I don't need the added pressure.  Be sure to let me know what you think.  I guess part of the point of writing is to have some readers, right?  You're not much of a writer if you can't take criticism from your readers, eh?

I've churned out a 1000 words tonight.  It's not much, and it might not even be any good, but I'll read it again tomorrow, and I might even try and improve it.  Or I'll write something else entirely.

I've let my muscle go slack and I need to start exercising it again.

Something has to change.


  1. Having just put in my resignation at my job, I am promising to write more myself. I actually finished almost the entire outline of the novella I am going to attempt this evening. As such, I am completely and totally supportive of this idea.

    I think you're a really talented writer, Swiss, and from what I've seen of your creative writing int he past, I think you'll make an excellent go of it. If you need support, or a beta, or just a person to bounce ideas off of, I'm totally here for you. I think its great you're going for something you love.


  2. When Reader Met Author was live, I always liked reading your material, so there you go, you have 1 fan right off the bat.

  3. Reader Meet Author? Now that's a good idea. I might just resurrect that.....

  4. I disagree that you don't write creatively at the moment. All of your blogs are creatively written and more importantly they resonate with me as a reader. I am not sure what your readership is but I am almost certain your blogs reach more people and have more of an impact than many so called "professional writers'" material does. Your writing is witty and honest.

    Leaving any job (even one you don't enjoy) is a big step but if you are willing and able financially to do it then I say go for it - you only live once. The downside to becoming a full time writer (as a friend of mine has discovered) is that after a while there is an inevitable pressure to be published and/or make money from your writing which, as you say, can take the "fun" element out of the creative process.

  5. I think this is a fabulous idea, though of course I worry about seeing less of you around here. But if it's for such a worthy cause, I'm happy for you. Listen to what your heart is telling you, and go for it!