So it turns out I have far more stories in the pipeline which I am excited about than I initially thought (we don’t mention the stories I’m not excited about as they are too numerous and too laborious to pursue but they lie like unwanted stowaways in the backseat of the car whilst I drive to work). I say stories because although they all want to grow up to be novels or epics of three-parts, the reality is that for the time being, they’re just stories. One has to get one’s ass into gear before novels get written. However, although a lack of consistency seems to be a theme in my life, I have papers everywhere (I found a story outline in my underwear drawer last week wedged between a pair of unmatched socks and a mooncup). Word files are saved and backed-up across all the servers and in amongst the ‘clouds’ of the future due to some desperate fear I have that one day, “poof”, they will all be lost to the ether, all because I never took them any further.
Initially, when I saw how haphazardly I was working, I freaked out a little and immediately turned to Twitter to check that that was “normal”. (Due to the astute nature of your observation skills, you might recognise that browsing the internet is not in line with “getting one’s ass into gear” but such is the burden of the procrastinator). Brandon Sanderson released a beast of a tweet which showed his current writing progress
I was reassured to find that yes, most writers work on more than one manuscript at a time as it gives them some objectivity when they revisit to edit or assess the work they have done elsewhere. Hooray for validation.
Fears abated, I returned to my stories. Which is a lie (and maybe not the first lie I’ve told you today but if it helps I am lying to myself more than anything so try not to take it personally.) What I actually did was set up my email, (open reddit), sign up to WordPress, (browse r/books), ring the designer asking if she’d help me with my look and feel, (reply to the same post every day suggesting ‘Uprooted’ by Naomi Novak to a new user on r/booksuggestions because that book needs waaay more exposure) and poured myself a golden tea because I hear it’s good at resolving health problems I am yet to experience.
My designer said something to me today which has made me question my reality (not that it takes much to do that) but that ate into the writing time I (or at least a past version of ‘I’) had promised myself (the ‘I’ of right now), would put aside. She said, ‘I can create you a look and a feel but it won’t be the same as being in your head. You can brief me, and I’ll need a full and proper brief to really capture what you want, but what you want you might not be able to put into words’. Considering I had asked her for a logo to encapsulate my writing career this might have been a bit of a dig at my abilities, but I took it to mean that often we have a picture in our mind, which, given how real it is to us, so wrapped up in personal experience and emotions, makes us feel like we have explained it well when really we have barely scratched the surface of a description enough for another person to share our ideas, our version of reality as we perceive it. I told her as such.
‘No’, she replied, ‘most people are just shit at giving briefs’.
And so now I am looking at my blog and the setup page is rather aggressively insisting that ‘You need to upload a site icon’ and I am fretting because I haven’t got a site icon yet! So should I even be writing my first blog post, publishing it, releasing it and all the mistakes it contains if I can’t even hide behind a site icon to give some semblance of professionalism?
Of course, this was all because of the bloody new year. 2019 is supposed to be the year I successfully move forward with these stories of mine, and as a part of this move, I promised myself I would write a blog post every month. And here I am, only an hour and eighteen minutes left of the bloody month to go and I am frantically trying to get words onto paper (or more importantly screen) so I can smugly announce to everyone in the office tomorrow that even though January is officially over, I’ve still stuck with my resolutions so you can stick Veganuary (or whichever version-anuary you were pretending to stick to) straight into next year. I was listening to some motivational bullshit (I call it bullshit to protect myself from general ridicule as I actually quite enjoy the general ‘self-help’ genre and yes I do get overly inspired every time I finish a book which lasts for approximately one episode of whatever I happen to be bingeing on Netflix at the time), which said that ‘the first step to overcoming the resistance is to write down a due date. Imagine if you’d started [your project] ten years ago; how much would it have moved on by now!’ Unfortunately the friendly, encouraging narrator of this ‘obvious-when-you-think-about-it advice’ doesn’t actually explain that the bit between deciding upon your project and setting a due date is a lot of anxiety-inducing, self-doubt-ridden work and as the clock keeps ticking (which is a phrase digital kids probably won’t understand in the near future) it doesn’t get any easier but much, much harder.
Nobody knows you.
Nobody fucking knows you.
So nobody is going to care if what you write is nonsense or poorly written or coming from a mind with misplaced deadlines. And if they did care, at least they would have gotten to know you, just a little bit, so thanks.