I haven’t written anything for ages. I haven’t felt inspired to write though. No new ideas, and no guilt about not doing it. I no longer feel like a phony because I know I’m not a writer, just somebody that writes. Until today at least, because I just decided that perhaps today should be the day when I write something.
So, blank piece of paper, here we are again, but this time it feels like you have the upper hand. Usually we get together and I dictate the conversation, and you never get a word in edgeways. This time though? Well, it seems like you have more to say than I do. In fact, I know that if I wasn’t typing a commentary the page would still be blank.
And now I ran out of steam. Bruce Springstein was on the radio and I finished this much writing before the end of the record. Usually Springstein goes on so much that the average writer (I don’t meet that standard yet) could write half a novel. If I wrote half a novel I’d work it out technically – how many full stops, commas, exclamations, question marks and etcetera’s, … etc.
And I’d do all those first so it felt like I was achieving something. A whole paragraph of commas followed by a paragraph of full stops, followed by a couple of lines of various other punctuation.
Oh, hang on a minute. I could write a book and call it a “Write Your Own Novel Kit”. I’ll provide all the things you need – the pages, a sufficient amount of punctuation, ample amounts of well presented, alphabetically stored letters of the … erm … alphabet – in both upper and lower cases. Some useful words or trigger phrases, based on the type of book you’re interested in writing (For example; if it’s a romantic novel I would provide phrases like “Put down your pipe and ravish me Clive” or “Alice rested her trembling hand on the leg of Pierre’s corduroy trousers”, you get the gist.)
I suppose I could just analyse a book and see how many times each letter of the alphabet is used, and group them all together in their own chapters. That means there would obviously be a minimum of 26 chapters – A to Z – and maybe a section that contains all the numbers (excluding page numbers, but these will also be provided and assigned in ascending numeric value, with a number per page. Probably at the bottom). And I could even provide half a dozen additional blank pages to put at the front and back like publishers do for reasons unbeknown to me – although it seems like a good method to pad out the book a bit if you normally struggle to get the pages into double figures like I do – you may be surprised to learn that my record output is a pitiful 16 pages (not 16 pages as in: most done in a single sitting, BUT the longest thing I ever wrote was 16 pages long). As you can tell, I usually run out of discipline before I run out of anything else. I write like a butterfly inspects the garden – flower by flower, and only when the weather’s right.
To stick with the gardening analogy; I’ll provide the landscaping and you provide the planting. In computer terms, I provide the hardware, and you provide the programming. Or in everyday writing terms; I provide the tools and you provide the talent and discipline. Which is more-or-less where I am when it comes to writing anyway these days. All the gear and no idea. I do have a rather splendid collection of empty moleskine notebooks though, so that’s nice.
So, if next Christmas somebody presents you with a nicely wrapped gift that looks like it might be a book, it might not be a book yet. But all it takes is a good idea, and 3 months of your life. But then again, who’s got time for that? Ooh, look, another flower …