Occasionally I try to write things. Most of the time I don’t have much success in making a great deal of headway with these sorts of projects. There’s usually a brief flurry of activity as my keyboard takes a massive pounding. Before I know it I’ve got a couple of thousand words sitting in front of me. Then the bright supernova of verbiage winks out. Then there’s nothing for months, sometimes years. It’s always a cumulation of factors that seem to get in the way. I’ve got to go out. I’ve got to do something else first. I can’t be bothered. I’m ill. My computer’s covered in bees. The list is endless. Then there’s the old chestnut writer’s block. Most of the time it feels quite a bit bigger than just a block, it tends to feel more like a mountain. A mountain that is continually falling on my head over and over. I tend to find I get distracted easily as well. I just start making some headway with one idea and then another pops into my head that DEMANDS immediate work on it. Then the whole cycle starts over again.
Out there in the arid badlands of the internet there’s a motley assortment of websites and/or blogs offering tips on how to overcome these bugbears. Some of them are helpful, other just utterly shatter everything you held to be true and make you want to weep in the corner while eating all the pages out of your notebook. But all of this rambling is largely peripheral to the point I’m slowly meandering my way towards. I find that a good, solid point needs to be approached with a running start and a fuck-ton of inertia, just in case it tries to fight back. I call this the super tanker approach. Once you’ve got yourself going you’re not going to stop even if you realise later on that you probably should. On one of my many journeys across the internet badlands I found one of the aforementioned sites. One of the things they recommended was giving your writing “a voice”. For one reason or another they thought it was a splendid idea to create a little compartmentalised identity in your head which did all the writing, not you. I suspect they meant just giving it a funny accent or a couple of textual idiosyncrasies. I think I went too far.
Now I’ve got a tiny little gnome living in my head. He’s called Hieronymous P. Taber and he pumps steaming, hot gouts of “what the fuck” through my fingers. He dodders around the musty cave of my skull in a little flat cap and pale blue dungarees. His beard’s shot with that sort of iron grey hair which suggests he’s probably getting on a bit but isn’t yet past his best. The pumping’s all done by a big set of bellows that are all covered in soot and grease and no matter how hard Hieronymous tries it gets everywhere. He even carries a little tartan hanky to wipe it off his hands and face. He drinks tea out of a jam-jar and smokes dog-eared cigarettes rolled in greaseproof paper.
And that I think adequately demonstrates that I tend to over think things and how easily I get distracted.
Mind you, Philip K. Dick used to claim his writing was the result of a big pink idea laser that god shone into his brain. On second thoughts, I don’t think that helps my case.