I am having some trouble keeping this blog updated at the moment. I’ve been trying to figure out why. It’s not lack of time to write it – after two years of regular entries it’s not difficult to carve out an hour. If anything, I’m pretty good these days at making time to work on something or other – even this month, which includes normal work, freelance work, trying to keep going with short stories and a long story, and my first ever effort at NaPoWriMo (which has at least kicked my poetry writing back into action at a point when I was starting to feel that I’d run out of ways to string words together or subjects to even write about).
I don’t think it’s lack of subject matter either. I’ve got a load of opinions on the world at large. I’ve got the sort of self-realisation stuff that I both want to write but also cringe at writing because… ah, and here it is, the problem: I know my audience a bit too well, and I’m clamming up.
I know that a lot of people who read this know or did know me in person. And that’s my fault because I promote it on social media that I use to keep in touch with old friends and family – I don’t think many people just stumble across it, and though I love reading other blogs, I’m not great at commenting on them and making connections.
I think I preferred writing here when I was more anonymous. There’s a load of writing tips out there that boil down to the same thing: write for yourself. That’s Writing 101, alongside ‘Just Fucking Write’. If you start writing for an audience, you focus on them instead of your story, and you start to lose your voice, and that’s what’s happened.
I’m aware that I witter on here and probably it’s kind of boring. I worry that I’m boasting about triumphs – like, I’m happy at the moment. Very happy. My life feels as though it’s on track in a way it hasn’t for a long time. I’ve taken, on a number of levels, something of a risk, moving, changing jobs, changing income, and no, nothing’s certain and it could go wrong, but at the moment it feels as though lots of little things are finally falling into place. I know that a lot of everything I’d doing is why this time round, I am enjoying driving instead of dreading it. I’ve very much got a feeling of being able to handle pretty much anything life throws at me at the moment. Bring it on. But how many ways can I write that before you lot get sick of reading it? How falsely philosophical can I be before I, let alone you, want to give me a good shake? How shamelessly sentimental? You see the problem.
Equally, tho, how crap is it to just list Stuff I’ve Been Doing? Oh guys, guys, I’ve finally joined Instagram! Look me up! Oh, folks, I have writing out and I think I’ve got several rejections due to land on me next week, but one of them might be a good one. Dudes, I passed my driving theory test this week.
Thing is, I don’t – and never have – wanted to present my life as a prettified social-network veneer type thing. The tone of this place has never been to write like my life is a sentimental story or an outraged tract, and I worry about how it’ll come across if/when I do write something like that. But on occasion, that’s what it’ll be I suppose, and self-consciousness should not be stopping me from just getting the word down.
It’s ridiculous that I’m censoring what I want or can be bothered to put just because I look some of my readers in the eye occasionally. Frankly, it’s taking the fun out of writing this blog (which was reason #2 for starting it in the first place). So, I think, in future, I’ll write when I have something to write about, and I won’t be altering it for an audience. If you don’t read, you don’t read; if you do, that’s great. In the meantime, here’s what I wrote yesterday morning, in its full, sentimental glory:
In our house, two of us lie in bed, under bright, bold covers. One of us is ill, sniffing and coughing and dropping snotty tissues off the side of the bed, solving seemingly endless puzzles in a Professor Layton game. The other of us – me – woke up at 7am, wrote and edited some poems having decided to attempt NaPoWriMo this year, then went back to bed and ate toast and drank tea, started reading a book of Alice Munro stories. Fell asleep again until midday, and is now catching up on the world. On top of the bright, bold covers, one dog has made herself very comfortable indeed, somehow gathering more duvet underneath herself with every satisfied stretch. A quiet protest, I think, at not being able to steal my pillow to lie on. The other dog is under the bed, wedged between the suitcases we store there. It is her new den. She thinks she is stealthy and silent, stealing the snotty tissues as they fall, but actually thumps around like a cut-price and over-friendly bogeyman. It is raining, so she is having an Indoor Wolf Day.
It is very peaceful. It is home.