This is my paper. This is my pen.
I will use the pen to fill up the paper, with stories out of my own head.
I will not stop until the paper is full up with stories.
That is my 2016 writing plan.
What do you mean, ‘not much of a plan’?
Okay, yes. Absolutely. That’s just a description of sitting down and writing something. What you can’t see is all the bits I’m cutting out. My aim this year is to deproffesionalise. That is a real word because, look, you can see it right there with your own eyes, actually existing. You now have one million times more reason to believe in the word deproffesionalise than you do the subject of any major religion anywhere.
Also, it actually exists. Seriously. I just looked it up, to find out whether I had invented a new word. I have not.
If you’ve been coming around here for a while you’ll be aware that I’ve worked hard over the last few years to try and impose a more business-like approach on the task of being a writer. Some of this was demanded by the process of self-publishing, which necessitates looking hard at the production side of making a book be real. The thing about those lessons, be they to do with money, choosing projects, marketing, or whatever, is that they start to inform the creative part of the process too, like a guidance counsellor who starts off with some useful suggestions and ends up sneaking into your house at night to tell you that you’re sleeping wrong*. I’ve yet to write something purely because I think it will sell (um…obviously…because of the no million pounds I have). However, there have been plenty of ideas that I haven’t developed because I think they’re unsellable.
Not unreadable. Unsellable. Totally different thing.
Those lessons won’t go away. I can’t unlearn them, and that’s not a bad thing. At the same time, I don’t want them to so mercilessly dictate my choices anymore. So this paper (a gift from my fair lady while we were in India) and this pen (a gift from my daughter, for my birthday)**. Before I go looking for things to write stories for, I’m going to fill this book with whatever comes to mind. Nothing else will happen until the book is full, whether this takes a single month or nine.
You may imagine me then, sitting back in my beanbag while inspirational music plays****, staring at distant things that are not there and trying to copy them down in words. It might even be an accurate image, some of the time. I don’t expect to write much of anything that I can sell, but this is an opportunity to go back to basics and see what sort of thing I write these days, with no markets calling.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
*Just me? Bugger.
**Your writer is exceptionally easy to buy gifts for, but few people understand this. Buy her a cool pen or a lined notebook. No, she does not have enough of these. It is not possible to have enough of these things. Your vague assumption that your writer probably has more pens and notebooks than she could use in a lifetime is both absolutely correct and manifestly wrong. Buy us more and we will love you obsessively***, like a labrador puppy loves that thing it shouldn’t chew.
***The possessive love of a writer may not be entirely to your advantage or liking. Fair warning.
****At the moment, ‘The Fox’ by Ylvis. To date, the greatest musical accomplishment of the twenty-first century. Here it is. You’re welcome.