I am a shit writer, and writing novels is hard. These are two things that I’m sure of – and that’s a statement which should not be read lightly, as I’m not a person who is often sure about things. I’m not sure how to spell “millennium” without autocorrect (a tiny contributor to my being a shit writer… we all have our “dud” word). I’m not sure whether I like green tea or not – though I think, ultimately, my body finds it gross (it’s my mind which desperately wants to like it). Most annoyingly, I’m still not sure what McDonald’s chicken nuggets are actually made of – though I am sure that it can’t be anything good.
A fourth thing that I’m sure of is that Mohammed didn’t go to the mountain and say “well, fuck this” – and turn around. Which is why I’m writing this.
I should really be more clear – I do not think that I am a shit writer because I am shit at the act of writing (though perhaps I curse more than is strictly necessary, a point I am well aware of and am doing absolutely nothing to change). Honestly, I think that I’m a pretty brilliant writer. I don’t feel guilty about being arrogant, here, because writing is basically my only talent, and every human being should be allowed to crow about one thing – be it that you own the world’s cutest dog, you can curl your turn into weird shapes or you’re the thirteenth-best trapeze artist in the Highlands. Whatever. You should be proud of yourself. Go you.
Another thing that I think we can all agree on is that, as writing is basically my one and only “thing”, it’s bloody well crucial that I’m capable of stringing a word or two together into comprehensive sentences. This I can do, too. The “shitness” lies elsewhere, in the process of stringing these strung words into a longer string of words – which I think in this industry we call a “paragraph” – which may then avalanche into a nifty composition that we call a book, Jones (a swift Bridget Jone’s reference, there, for your reading pleasure).
Ah, a book. This is what I have trouble with. You know – the whole, making a finished product thing, which exceeds the standard article/short story/grocery list length. I would like for this to change. I would like, at the end of all these scribings, to have A Thing. A fat thing. Fat words. I do not want to produce, solely, “thin” writing. Fat is the new writer’s black. There are many potential reasons why I have not successfully made a juicy, fat, fifty-thousand-word long, fantasy biopic yet, but I’ll only bore you with the big stickler – I’m a little lazy (along with honest and in possession of a foul mouth). This is not a problem when I’m writing articles or short extracts. The article climate is constantly changing, so you never grow bored or tired of your pursuits. But when you have a seriously long aim, being a little sans motivation can be a big issue. Laziness is a creative’s excuse-making kryptonite, as you can pretty much blame anything for your lack of creating. “Oh, I just don’t have any time due to all these ideas that I have”, “Well, you can’t force the creative process, dear” and “Oh, I’m so tortured”, blah blah blah, tumbleweed for months, and so on so forth. In the plainest pig English – being lazy is not good for me. Being lazy will not help me make fat. Laziness equals nothing to really talk about and the death of curiosity and watching TV with your mouth slightly open, drooling on your Bed, Bath & Beyond pillows
An accurate depiction of me at home
Being lazy might not be so tough if my singular talent were something like baking or photography. I do not mean to offend with that statement, before you take to the shed to find your pitchforks: I don’t think that these are lazy practices at all, contrary to what that remark might suggest. However, being rather an entrepreneur of lazy activities in my spare time, I have devised ways in which to do these aforementioned practices (badly – remember that I have but one talent) in a sluggish, mindless manner. It’s pretty easy to bake (badly) whilst simultaneously watching Bloodline on Netflix. It’s pretty easy to take photographs (badly) when you’re taking them of your toy alpaca which sits at the end of the bed, and you’re taking them with one hand whilst eating a cookie with the other.
However, there is absolutely no loophole when you want to write. “Writing lazy” is not really a thing, particularly with the kind of writing that I have in mind. I want to write a book in the most bookish sense of the term. A book which is purely designed to be a book, as opposed to a leaping-point from which a film can be made. When Tolkein wrote Lord of the Rings I’m pretty sure he never saw it as a film, largely due to the fact that films weren’t even really a thing at the time of its conception. Mister J.R.R. saw Middle-Earth as a “pure” work of imagination to be duly interpretively imagined by the reader, in a myriad of different lights. No interpretation would be the same – there was no pressure to condense what he wrote into a singular, technicolour image. That’s the whole point of reading, right? Personal escape, as opposed to communal.
So this is what I’m setting out to do. I am writing a Fat Book. Making A Thing. And I’m writing it with the intention of it staying, exclusively, as a book. A gripping book. A mind-fucking, thought-provoking, imagination-fattening book. I don’t want my creative shenanigan-ning to be addressed with mouths open, a bit of drool falling out of the left corner (the resting face of most movie-watchers when the plot leaves something to be desired). I am not being judgmental. I had this exact face yesterday evening, in fact, whilst watching Jurassic World. It’s the same face I pull when I’m asleep. So I’m waking up. No longer shall I be a shit writer. I want to be a good writer, who’s shit at being bad at it. I want every word I write to be as eloquent as that sentence, there. I have high hopes.