I had a few minutes to spare on Sunday, and wandered into WHSmith where I lost myself in reading the blurb on the back of many of the paperbacks in the bestseller chart. It’s a while since I checked out what kind of literature is captivating the public, and it does bring out some competitiveness in me.
However, I may be rather too late to win the race to the bookshelves, if I’m to believe the bleak vision of the future of publishing painted by Ewan Morrison in his Guardian article Are books dead, and can authors survive? He gloomily predicts that “writing, as a profession, will cease to exist”, because writers will offer their work for free in a digital environment that increasingly provides free content. He argues that in the future writers “will labour under the delusion that Continue reading
When I realise I’ve been procrastinating or avoiding writing my novel – finding distractions in my fridge, my garden or online, – I take a peek at a quote I have pinned up on my wall that reminds me there’s only so much fiddling about I can do. I can either get on with it, or spend the rest of my life wondering and wishing. I can pretend I’m not inspired, or wait for it to strike, or I can sit at my desk and write – and that in itself is inspiration.
This quote sticks a lump to my throat, trickles tears down my cheeks, and triggers my existential concerns. It also gives me a twist of guilt, and a wistful motivation to write the next chapter. Because time is ticking and I haven’t yet achieved by long-held dream of being a published author.
“The song I came to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing
and in unstringing my instrument.
The time has not come true,
the words have not been rightly set;
only there is the agony
of wishing in my heart.”
– Rabindranath Tagore
I’m a notebook addict. I can barely pass a stationery store without looking in and seeing if my perfect notebook is out there that can hold my thoughts, ideas, inspirations (which often happen just as I’m about to fall asleep), and that will help me act on the brilliance of those insights. As a writer, I always have one of my many notebooks to hand. What happens with my plethora of pages is that I intend to have different notebooks for different moods, circumstances and surroundings. I therefore have:
- brightly coloured folios in hardback for uplifting spiritual thoughts
- a ‘gratitude book’ for the end of the day, to thank the universe for my blessings
- my ‘observations’ book, where I log the conversations, mannerisms, annoyances and joys of the day
- my ‘train book’, where I like to scribble whatever comes to mind, especially to rant about Continue reading
As I tussle with my novel that’s been in progress for the past five years, and berate myself for not having finished it yet, I take heart from a musician who has been writing songs for 19 years before releasing them. OK so Charlie Simpson – currently with Fightstar and formerly with Busted – is only 26, but he felt that he needed to accumulate enough ‘life experience’ to do those songs justice. Any earlier, and he wouldn’t have been in the right place for the lyrics to have meaning.
I admit to being a little concerned that my own novel, when it is finished, may be a little out of touch with where and who I am now. I wish I had written the Continue reading
Tears streamed down my face when I read about a woman who had lost her only child chart her journey through journaling. This post is really worth reading on Life Goes Strong, entitled Writing for Life: How Journal Writing Helps Heal One Mother’s Grief.
Writing really was therapy in this case, for Tamara Thomas, and the process took her through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance – and the tasks of mourning: to accept the reality of loss; to work through the feelings about that loss; to learn to live without the person you’ve lost; and to Continue reading
Writing down my ‘stuff’ – letting it flow on the page and then close the book on it – has long been my therapeutic secret. While it’s great to have a therapist with whom to share and pick over the darkest, most uncomfortable aspects of one’s character, there’s something about the easy availability and non-judgemental nature of pages in a notebook that are all-ears all times of the day.
Which is why it’s inspiring to hear how rapper Dizzee Rascal, in writing his autobiography with the aid of a ghostwriter, felt the process of telling his story was ‘like therapy’. He told the Evening Standard that he had lots of Continue reading
I’ve often wondered how people can do ‘structured’ creative thinking and come up with ideas on demand, because I find that my inspiration comes when I least expect it and when I’m nowhere near a pen to write things down – like when I’m driving, washing my hair, or brushing my teeth.
If someone demanded a brilliant idea from me at knifepoint I doubt I’d be able to deliver, because creative thought somehow deserts me when I’m under pressure.
Yet this is the way the creative brain is meant to work, according to an article New Insights on the Creative Brain in Psychology Today.
The secret to creativity is not thinking and thinking and forcing a thought to emerge, but to Continue reading
The lasting legacy of ludicrous riots:
what will that mean for me?
Not the mobs in their looted trainers,
or the YouTube vigilantes;
not the columns condemning violence
or the angry-eyed document’ries.
Maybe the broom-wielding Wombles
or the Continue reading
I admit my first reaction to hearing about singer-of-the-moment Adele writing her soaraway successful album 21 while under the influence of booze was one of disbelief: firstly, that someone so talented needs to drink (the shadow of Amy Winehouse loomed large in my mind), and secondly, that she could so coolly and publicly admit to it.
Except when I read beyond The Sun headline of ‘Booze helps Adele write songs‘, I realised there was more to it than just downing a bottle of wine and churning out indulgently booze-fuelled lyrics.
What it turns out the singer had done was bypass her inner critic – with all its angst and murderous intentions towards a newly born idea, thought or tune – with the anaesthetising effects of alcohol. Without that switch into another part of herself, the bitter-sweet unexpectedness of her number-one songs may never have Continue reading