Writing is hard because…

When I was a kid, my idea of heaven was to go with my father to his work, and into the store-room where they kept the stationery. The blocks of A4 pads of lined paper, the fancy water-marked paper for posh letters, which we would hold up to windows so that we could trace the lion rampant and colour it in, where my idea of infinite possibility, with so much room for all my ideas to go anywhere I wanted – heaven!

It’s a pity that, instead of preserving that sense of the infinite and using it to my advantage, writing now feels a bit daunting, as if there are simply too many words to choose from, so many ways I could take a line of thought. So, habitually, I think that writing is hard because it contains too much possibility. How easy it is, by comparison, to write to a brief, to follow instructions, to know where you are heading.

But perhaps that is to look at the way I write, the wrong way. Perhaps the better idea is for me to wait patiently in writing mode, wrists and fingers at the ready, to see what comes through. I’ve heard of other writers who listen and write, and who record stuff that they later read and think, “Did I write that?” and who, reading it, decide, “This isn’t half bad, actually…!”

Perhaps that is the best way to go forward. It’s certainly one of the more restful ways, and who knows what it might produce?

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