I recently lost my paid writing work. Understandably I was a bit bummed by this, but I have done the sums and if I’m careful, I can afford to spend the next six months writing and not earning.
So there it is in front of me, the writer’s dream: a vast stretch of uninterrupted time.
Which as it turns, out, also happens to be the writer’s nightmare.
At last you can try your hand at a novel you nod to yourself.
And then as soon as you sit down at your laptop, a dark shadow taps you on the shoulder and starts cackling.
So how to persevere?
Well the dark shadow is right: I do not know how to write a novel.
But it struck me yesterday that this is only a negative if I decide to write a novel.
What if, instead, I decide to learn to write a novel, well the shadow can’t torment me because I don’t know what I am doing, because my ignorance is the de facto starting point.
And it’s not like I am trying to do something totally foreign – like learn to play the saxophone. I’ve spent the past twenty-odd years making my living from research (aka learning) and writing, and have produced two books: one narrative non-fiction, one factual non-fiction, both of which required truck loads of discipline and tenacity.
So what do you say, shadow self, shall we give it a go?
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