I’m a long-time non-writer, and it’s taken me two decades to deal with it.
Many people I’ve spoken to maintain that the hardest part of writing is finding the drive to sit down and actually do it. To hammer out words in a room where it’s just you, your brain and an infinite sheet of white. And I hate it.
The mechanical process of writing is something I have always, and likely always will, found immensely difficult. Even now I can feel the wheels grinding to a halt in my head, struggling in protest at the first sign of mental exertion. Which is why I decided at the start of the year that if I’m going to be a writer, I’ll need to write. And one week later, here I am.
My decision to blog was spurred on in no small way by this brilliant article by Tim Urban: http://waitbutwhy.com/2013/10/why-procrastinators-procrastinate.html which produced the dual effect of recognition, that: “You know, I could write this. I could honestly sit down and produce something that people would read” alongside: “Oh-ho, fuck. That’s me.” I knew that many people wrote because they felt miserable, I felt miserable when I didn’t
‘Mostly Inert’ is therefore what is an almost certainly doomed attempt to generate content. To Write Regularly. And To Get Better….No, honestly. This is literally the only goal I’ve set myself. If I can do this for a month, we’ll see where the future leads. But I’d also like to officially go on record and underline that I’m not listing quality as a core requisite. Please keep that firmly in mind. Continuously.
Over the forseeable I’d like to put up reviews, thoughts and articles about books, games, television and other crap that I come across. And it gives me no small measure of satisfaction that my first digital footprint in this world will feature this screencapture of Jeremy Brett, as Sherlock Holmes, pretending to be a working class farrier:
Regardless, I’m aiming to put out 500 words bi-daily about material that will be of almost no interest to anyone. But I’ll know it’s there. And that’s the important thing
NEXT: Black, Green, Red, White and Blue.
I’m also aware that this post doesn’t remotely make it to my original commitment to 500 words. The opportunity to highlight some amazing advice/ pad out my piece was impossible to resist. Below are Orwell’s Rules For Writing that he formulated and imposed while working as a journalist. I printed these out while interning last year and kept the list in my wallet before losing them before Christmas. I think I’ll print a new copy tomorrow.
I’m also certain that I’ve broken every single one over the previous 300 words:
(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
I’d also like to throw in Paul Abbot’s: “Writing is Rewriting”, because it is. And it brings me up to 560.