Thursday, 9 January 2014

Q&A - Why did I stop and why did I start again

After my flurry of posts over the last few days I've had some much appreciated comments and also a nice direct message on twitter which posed two straightforward questions with which I am only able to reply with in long rambling answers. In short the questions were "Why did I stop and why did I start again?"

To try and say why I stopped is tricky as I don't think I did so deliberately or with any forethought but had found it progressively harder to find things that I enjoyed writing about particularly when the Worcester Park blog had the local news side so well covered, which had been quite a large part of what I'd been doing. I was occasionally writing the odd post for another site too and I was finding that rather than enjoying the experience and watching my fingers skate across the keyboard with unrestrained joy I came to a place where just the thought of feeling obliged to write something by either a deadline or my own internal urgings filled me with grim horror. If you were looking for a simple label for it you could call it "Writer's Block" and seeing as I don't have to do this for money that feeling has "quit" written all over it.

The second reason, perhaps oddly, is that my own blog put me off. I'd occasionally go back and read some of my old posts and think "God! I was funny back then! What happened?". I think the American expression is that I'd lost my mojo, whatever that may translate to in suburban English.

In truth I was still writing technical posts for an internal blog where I worked at least three times a week for a while but by the middle of last year I was squeezed for time and even that had taken a back seat so while my business cards from the other web site said "writer" on them I'd hurriedly explain that I wasn't really. 

But I still liked the idea of writing. 

I have some very creative friends who are writers, artists, musicians, photographers and the like so any creative urges don't stay dormant for long and at one point one of them had "liked" a Facebook post about a writing book and when I took a look it seemed like it would be good so I bought it. I didn't realise quite how good it would be. 

The book is called "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott and rather than being one of those "how to get published and make a fortune which will cause your (former) friends to vomit" books it's very much about how to write in a personally honest and creative way rather than how to get published. Firstly I find it hysterically funny and secondly it's VERY honest. She expresses her thoughts and fears very clearly and I wish she'd been around this time last year when I was having my slump. In short her basic premise is that rather than reading about writing or thinking about writing its best to get on and write, no matter how bad it may seem to you while you're doing it. While typing this I can mentally here my fellow grammar pedants sucking their teeth at some of the things I've written but I'm learning to quieten those thoughts.

So rather than sitting on my morning commute reading the Metro I'm sitting here writing, which I find a much more constructive way to start the morning. 

"Bird by Bird" - Anne Lamott

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