Compulsive Writing

I once abandoned a novel after running out of steam. It was 2002 or thereabouts and I never thought I’d write another one. Now, if I don’t write something every day I shake like a man totally wired on espresso.

Are you the same? Not those of you who don’t write, but those of you who do. After I finished the second draft of The Fine Art of Necromancy I promised myself a moratorium on writing and ended up eating my car. I moved on, finished the novel a few weeks ago and decided it needed a supplement, so I wrote a short story which will be published within the novel. And now all that’s done, lo, I’m writing blog posts again.

We’ve all been there…

Of course, I’m not going to promote this novel, that would be a ridiculous waste of time. Instead I’ll barrel on into the next one, Lords of Misrule. And continue the soundtrack to Quarter Moon and start making clothes (I’ve ordered a tee-shirt pattern off Amazon) and maybe buy a set of tin snips to make jewellery out of cast-off bits of stainless steel blagged off a bloke in Nelson. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s been approached before for scrap metal.

The other day, someone at work half-jokingly called me negative; this after I stuck on the wall a picture of a clock in protest at clocks being banned from office walls. But in part he was right. I am a negative person, disillusioned with the real world and in a permanent need to create my own. This probably qualifies the writing as a form of escapism and possibly a manifestation of some deeper psychological problem brought on by eating too many beef burgers in the 1990s. (My memory has never been as bad as it is these days.)

What was I saying? Oh, yes, writing. I’m at the stage now where I need to cobble together some lyrics for a song I’ve written and that might be my main focus when I go on holiday in a couple of weeks’ time. Lyrics are hard. Burt Bacharach didn’t do lyrics, he left that to Hal David. And unfortunately lyrics are not the sort of thing you can write in a cafe because you need the music with you and I’d look daft dragging my Mac, keyboard and monitor in here with me.

Some of you will grind away at NaNoMoMoNoMano next month. I still don’t get it and won’t be taking part. In spite of the writing itch, I still think if you have to force yourself to write something you’re not looking forward to writing, you’ll end up writing something no one will look forward to reading. That’s not happened to me yet: what to write. Although the day might soon come when I can’t remember what it was I was looking forward to writing.




6 thoughts on “Compulsive Writing

  1. I try to avoid the espressos. After four capucinos I feel full up and don’t want any tea. (Tea at teatime, not cup of tea.)

    I enjoy your witing style, the way you mix fact with description and paint very vivid word pictures. I particularly enjoyed that series of walks you did around London. At the risk of inserting cliche here, writing everyday does improve the craft and it’s one of the few bits of author advice that has any merit. It’s also therapeutic; I used to think I could only write when I was angry, and some of my best writing comes out of confrontation, but I’m a bit more mellow now. Maybe that’s where the coffee comes in handy. Fires me up a bit.

    You suffer from blank stare syndrome, I’m afflicted with public bursts of laughter. I don’t know what people think of me when I’m stood in the queue at the garden centre cafe and I’m pretending to sneeze. When the first idea came to me for a story involving a hopeless human canonball it was acutely embarrassing. People must have thought I was having a fit.


  2. Promoting novels is a waste of time isn’t it? Cover reveals, blog tours, buy-my-book posts… it’s all a complete time suck for no real benefit. Perhaps I’m negative as well. I can’t even be bothered to write the bloody books in the first place now…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve watched you do so much to promote your books it’s disheartening to see all that effort is now having an impact on your writing. If you can detach the writing from the promo stuff maybe you’ll get the urge to write again just for your own self-satisfaction. The crappy marketing hasn’t divebombed my enthusiasm yet. Keep dreaming up them stories and write them as an entertainment for when you’re next on the Isle of Wight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cheers Chris. I’ve started 5 books this year and haven’t had the enthusiasm to finish any of them. I’m slowly recovering from 30 radiotherapy treatments and I think that’s had an impact on my thought processes this year. I can’t wait for 2018 to start – perhaps I’ll finish one of them next year.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I’m aware you’ve had other priorities and it’s good to see you come through all that. I suppose psychologically your mind will be in other places, real rather than fictitious, so maybe once things have settled one of those five ideas will call out for attention, maybe a plot change and off you’ll go again.


  3. You’ve raised some interesting points there, Chris. First, I start shaking after only two espressos. I noticed this a few years ago when I had a double espresso and about an hour later thought I was having a heart attack. Now my wife limits me to one. Second, I am a compulsive writer, got to have my fingers rattling away on a keyboard. A day isn’t a real day unless something appears on a Word document. Also, I’ve got to be thinking about writing when I’m not actually writing. I get into trouble for this – a vacant face at the dinner table with eyes staring into nothingness. Sometimes people think I’m shy or rude, but I’m not; I’m just in a different place. Third, banning clocks from office walls is counter-productive because people then get their phones out to look at the time or ask a colleague what the time is, or dial up the talking clock. It’s the first step towards fascism. Fourth, perhaps all writers are negative. I certainly am. Nothing fuels me more than anger at the world and the need to kick back. Example: WH Auden, Stop All the Clocks. Thomas Hardy was so negative he almost went all the way round to positive again. Just finished re-reading Zola’s Germinal; filled with anger, pessimism and tragedy. It’s absolutely great. Can’t think of a great author who relied on being positive.

    Liked by 1 person

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