Peter M Howard ::

On Writing, When I’m Not

22July2012 [personal]
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In which I write about not writing, just to get the rusty wheels turning

The short version is, it’s really hard, and I’m going to have to do something to change that!

Work comes with its seasonal changes, and for the last 1-2 months I’ve, for various reasons, not been doing a lot of writing even at work. It’s as busy as ever, but my time has been directed to meetings and workshops, lots of management, and a lot more coding and prototyping than I normally do at once. Contrast that to only a few months ago, when I was writing thousands of words a week, between the sales, requirements and specification documents, and the business plans and presentations.

At the same time, moving to within walking distance of work has meant that I’ve lost my daily commute. While that’s not something I ever want to get back, I lost with it a significant amount of time that I used to use for reading and writing. It’s now too easy to just get up and go straight to work, or to linger at the end of the day then just veg out when I finally get home.

What I know, from the extremes of writing thousands of words a day in Paris, is that the mere act of writing is self-reinforcing. So short of taking that sort of time off again, all I should have to do is make a habit of writing again. I know I struggle to write at the end of the day, so realistically it means getting up earlier and forcing myself to write, whatever it is. And I want to improve my fiction writing, so knocking out a few short stories might be a good way to break out those ideas. If I can make that happen, expect to see a few more things written here.

What I have to avoid though, is putting off writing until I have more time. That mythical “more time” never comes, and when I get stale it takes me even longer to get back into the flow. This very piece has been bouncing around my head for weeks, reluctant to come out. And I have an ever-growing document full of half-formed ideas and essays. There’s really no shortage of things to write about!

I don’t really know how to close this piece; my writing feels rusty, the act of transferring ideas from my mind to the page is clumsy, hampered. But maybe it’s best that I don’t close this out — just treat it as a first fumbling move, one that may lead to better things.

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