Next month, I will celebrate my third year in blogging. Woo-ha! I know, I should have written this blog in February, but I’m not very good at waiting for things. I mean, in early February, I could fall down a ravine or be trapped under something heavy. So why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? That’s the motto I always live by (I don’t). Therefore, with this (ahem) astonishing landmark coming up (which I haven’t quite reached yet), I have revamped my site. I hope you like it. I’m a bit concerned that it’s very generic and looks like a lot of other blog sites, but I think it’s cleaner and more polished. Anyway, I think I’m stuck with it now. The old template seems to have been retired, so I don’t think I can go back even if I wanted to. Oh, and I’ve updated my head-shot to reflect my semi-blondness. So don’t worry if you think you’re reading somebody else’s blog. You aren’t, it’s still mine. This is the blog you are looking for. I think. But as-per-uzsh, I’m not feeling especially ecstatic to have scraped through another year on the blogosphere (and I mean scraped). Every year it gets harder to stay motivated; every year I wonder how much longer…I will be here. And yet I’m still standing, as Elton John would say. And I suppose that’s because I still have thoughts I believe to be worth sharing rattling around my head.
Anyway, whinging aside, this post isn’t really about blogging, as such. It’s more about writing as a whole; writing books, if I’m honest. And as my third anniversary as a blogger comes around (and certainly my third anniversary of being a self-published author – that I did do in January 2015), I’ve noticed just how much I miss writing. I must never forget that writing books is the reason I’m a blogger at all. I wouldn’t be here writing this post now if it hadn’t been for the books. To be an author, you must have a blog – dem’s the rules. Sometimes I miss writing novels so much that I almost feel a little heartsick about it. That sounds very melodramatic, but it’s true. If I think about it for too long, I feel incredibly sad – my safety valve has gone. And I know what you’re thinking, ‘write a novel, then’ (thanks, you’re no help, Mr State-the-Obvious). Because that’s not the way it works – not for me, anyway. I need a clear plan; I need a defined destination of what I’m writing and exactly how I want it to end. Even if the middle bit is a bit fuzzy, that’s okay, but I need to know where I’m going. And although I have flashes of ideas, that’s not enough for me to commit to making a start.
It’s not so much that I want to have a book (or screenplay) in progress for eventual publication. That’s not what I miss. It’s the very act of writing a story itself. I have spent countless years involved in writing my trilogy; be it the first or last draft stages, be it editing, or promoting (although I hate promoting). But I always had something to do. If I was waiting for an appointment in a GP surgery or sitting in a car to collect a child from one of their various extracurricular activities, I always had a laptop handy to pull out and crack on with some writing or editing. In my free time, I always had employment. And now I don’t. It’s not that I’m not busy. I am – crazy busy. I feel like I’m never at home. I have a busy work schedule and rehearsals and ‘Adele’s Kid’s Taxi Service’ to keep me thoroughly occupied. But I just don’t have…the book. And the book wasn’t ‘work’. I simply enjoyed doing it.
I miss being lost in it. I miss being engrossed in something. I miss the escapism. That escapism has now gone – there is no escape from real life. I am immersed in real life 24-7. And since I once had a get-out clause, that’s kind of hard to take. I have come to realise, since finishing my trilogy, that the books were pivotal to my mental health. Whenever anything unpleasant or downright awful happened, I would bury myself in the writing. When my sister died, I did little else but write. It got me through tough times that I’m not sure I would have made it through without it. Some may think it was just a way of running away from my problems. Maybe so, but it worked. I was a happier person because of the books.
This blog makes me happy too, don’t get me wrong. I am very proud of it. Let’s not forget, without the blog I wouldn’t currently be writing at all. I do love the way it can bring you closer to friends and people you’ve never even met before. Finally, you can be 100% honest with yourself and everyone else. If people didn’t understand you before, they certainly do after reading your blog for a while. When I’ve got a topic to write about, I can fill a contented couple of hours getting it all down, polishing and editing it into the wonderfully-crafted piece like the one you see before you (I am joking, don’t worry). But those couple of hours have soon gone. That blog post is done and dusted. You just have to worry about dreaming up the next one. And I think that’s the crux of the problem. It means I’m forced to start something new. And I’m not particularly fond of new things. I much prefer tried-and-tested, familiar ones.
Anyway, I will start a new project this year; I feel sure of it. But I’m not going to get started in some half-arsed, cockamamie way. I’m not even going to attempt to write anything until I have a proper vision in mind. If I ain’t feeling it, I ain’t doing it (perhaps that should say, doin’, I’m not sure. I haven’t lived in East London for a long time). I couldn’t give a monkey’s-toss if it’s something I feel confident enough about to publish and let human beings read, I just want to be writing something that means a lot to me; something I care about. And whilst I wait for that day, I still have my three-year-old (nearly) blog to fall back on. It may not be the blog you are looking for, but you’ll still listen to me bleat on every (within reason) Saturday morning, won’t you…?
PS: I promise I won’t crow too much about my blog’s three-year birthday next month…because, well, I already have.