On Writing


I have been writing a lot. It’s the easiest hard thing in the world for me. Or the hardest easy one. I’m not sure. It’s just that writing is a simple matter of sitting down and not being too intimidated by that blinking cursor flickering sceptically at you at the very top of an expanse of white as if to say – go on then, get on with it, impress me, impress yourself.

I want to write all the time but so often everything which feels clear and lucid in my mind, gets bunched up and chaotic on the journey from brain to fingers and everything I felt sure would come flying out at a pace greater than I can be certain my deficient secretarial skills will allow is cramped up in my grey matter evading that simple act of transcription.

It used to be that when the mind/hand train-wreck occurred I would be hurled out of the process entirely and I would end my beginning with a disappointed giving up. I never really properly understood the role of editing. I mistook editing and correcting for the same thing and if the worlds didn’t stream out of me like a medium channelling spirits I would withdraw from writing completely. Immaturely I thought if my work didn’t fall from me like a foal, just about ready to get up on its own legs and run without me then it mustn’t be worth doing. Witlessly I believed I should just have to tweak the spelling and grammar. I never realised to what extent that first shot doesn’t matter much, that so much of the art is in the afterward of that initial rush and push. In the edit and re-draft. Anyway. I’m not a twat like that any more.

I’ve finally grown to know, certain sure as the knowing of my own name that you should never deal with things in the abstract when you could deal with them in actuality and that it is usually always better to crank out a bad something you can later craft into something good than to live in a world of infinite possibility and sit there at your desk smoking and playing Spell Tower in the hope that suddenly the muses will shift in you and you’ll get it all right on the first attempt.

That way all ideas remain within, swarming in the head like a jar of wasps.And I go home palpating, trembling with unrealised ideas, angry with myself for having let the hours drop to bits around my terror of imperfection.Someone much smarter than me, to my shame I forget who said “All art must remain only an attempt” and that’s true.

Samuel Beckett said “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.” Fucking Samuel Beckett said that. And he was SAMUEL FUCKING BECKETT.And thus should be listened to and obeyed.

Yeah. Don’t listen to me. I’m just a really earnest, slightly daft, excessively introspective, increasingly aged word junkie who is really trying to get better at what I do. But you should listen to Samuel Beckett. He’s the don.



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