I’m not writing anything at the moment.
Not working on a book. Not scribbling notes of any short stories. Not blogging about the many things that have interested or annoyed me in the past couple of weeks. (One obvious exception notwithstanding.)
I’m not doing any of the “making sure I always find time to eke out some words every day” thing. I’m not staring blankly at the scene-by-scene layout of a half-baked zombie detective novel, trying to organise all the sub-plots and ongoing threads in a way that’ll let me tie all the scattered fragments together into a continuous narrative. And I’m not wishing I had the energy or motivation to do all these things with all the free time I’m currently spending on the sofa.
I’m painting the kitchen. I’m watching Game of Thrones. I’m reading graphic novels about Nazi cats. I’m failing to train my own probably-not-a-Nazi cat not to bite my ankles or start knocking things off the dresser at 5.30am, because if you spray her with a water pistol she looks at you curiously and then comes over and licks it, even if you keep firing it right in her face at point blank range. I’m having a pretty quiet family life at home while not in any way being a writer.
It’s quite nice.
This isn’t some especially dramatic shift. Clearly I’ve not given up entirely, and clearly it’s not been completely off my mind this whole time, given that it’s the first thing in ages I’ve been motivated to write about at some length. There’s still a lot I feel I could achieve in that direction; there are many stories I don’t just want to leave unfinished; it feels incredibly rewarding when it’s going well; and there are times when my contribution feels like it has the potential to even matter a little bit.
And doing some proper, serious writing, enough to actually maybe get fairly good at it, is the thing I can most imagine regretting if I never got around to it, decades down the line. If I never touch a piano again, maybe I’ll miss that from time to time, but there’ll be no particular heartbreak there. But if I give up on all my half-started books, and never really have a proper go at being single-minded and crazy enough to make some notable progress at being a writer… that seems like something that would make me sad, looking back.
I might try an experimental few months next year, of being a properly secluded crazed hairy creative type. My other responsibilities will be few, I won’t be in this lethargic semi-hibernation which is how I apparently react to winter, and I’ll give the wife strict instructions to hide the cheesecake and withhold further lasagna until I’ve been sufficiently diligent at words. After a few months of actually committing to that, I ought to know whether I was getting enough out of it to keep some sort of routine going, or whether I’d actually be happier if I just relaxed with all this lovely spare time instead.
Because, you know, not putting any effort into it at all, for a nice long stretch of more than just a day or two in between forced bursts of activity, is really nice.
So, I don’t know. My wife’s been telling me I need a hobby. Something to do with my hands, something that’ll occupy my brain while she’s crocheting a hat on the other end of the sofa. I’m not arty at all, but I like having something to do with my hands. I’m enjoying painting the tiles in the kitchen, for some reason.
Oh god. I’ve become one of those people who doesn’t post to their blog for ages then updates with some self-indulgently pointless musing about why I haven’t written much lately or the nature of creativity or some shit like that. I used to be topical and share crafted opinions or sensibly balanced reporting on interesting news. Now look at me. I’m probably going to title it “Still alive” or something insufferable like that, aren’t I? Christ, I’m a wanker.