First thing to say: writing is hard work. But then again, it’s not actually what you might call hard work.
Top five worst jobs ever:
- Peeling onions in a pickled onion factory. By hand. At the end of the day I was paid with a token that I could redeem for cash. I threw the token in a ditch, my clothes in the trash.
- Hoovering the landings of an exclusive apartment block. Each identical. It got so I couldn’t be sure whether the lift had actually moved or not. There was a boy who came out of his flat and stood there, eating a chocolate bar, watching me pointlessly hoover the immaculate carpets. A moment of existential despair.
- Painting the outside of an apartment block (not the same apartment block). Winter.
- Painting the inside of an underground car park. Winter.
- Working in a pirate-themed adventure playground. Dressed as a pirate. Spent all day rescuing kids from the rigging, the tentacles of the inflatable octopus, the ball pit. Juggling plastic fish, cleaning up vomit. Sparring with my alcoholic co-pirate. Taking hourly turns on Captain Nemo’s submarine (the windows filled with water when we submerged, then a screen at the front showed footage of sharks and squid nicked from the telly). Rescuing kids from Captain Nemo’s submarine.
So from my own experience I know for a fact there are worst things I could be doing with my life.
One of the problems with writing is that the routine you have to get into to get the work done can be quite deadening, or disorienting. It’s like a cart horse wearing blinkers. No distractions, just focused on pulling the cart, covering the distance. The danger is, if your blinkers are too effective, you’re in danger of either wandering off track, or forgetting exactly what it is you were setting out to do. Just lately, I’ve been out of blinkers, looking around, wondering where the hell I am, and what the big idea was – the metaphorical equivalent of shying in the traces. (Is it very apparent I haven’t the faintest idea about horses?) Which is a fancy way of saying: I got the last edit of the book done, and don’t know if I’ll ever manage to write a decent book. (see previous posts).
It’s okay, though. I’m calming down. Getting other stuff written – which I like, even though it doesn’t feel as ‘substantial’ as the day to day business of writing a novel. I’ll definitely finish The Fabulous Fears (a huge thanks to everyone who’s offered to Beta read it for me), if for no other reason than I feel I owe it to the characters. I’m trying to write a radio play now, based on my experiences in the ambulance service (another hard job, but then again, not nearly as hard as teaching English in a secondary school *shudder*).
On with the blinkers…
getting into drag
RuPaul’s Drag Race is such gorgeous, funny, scurrilous, perfectly balanced entertainment. I could happily binge watch a thousand episodes back-to-backless.
Thanks for reading, and all your support!