beware of what you wish for

For the last busy fortnight, I’ve been full of writing vim and vigour. Other deadlines, bureaucracies, commitments, some delightful and others dementing, have had to take precedence. Today, there’s nothing between me and the novel I’m trying to write. I know its theme. I know its form (I think). But today, my study filled with spring light, the little dog sweetly curled up and other distractions and deadlines perfectly happy to ‘pend’, I find myself appalled at the prospect of actually writing. So here I am, dithering. All I’ve got to do is pull the novel up from the bottom bar of my Mac, and I know – or at least I think I know – its world will lure me in. I’ve got notes. I’ve got thoughts. But not for nothing is a novel called a ‘novel’. A novel should be new, not so much in story – there are, as we all know, a limited number of plot arcs – but each succeeding novel should propel the writer into slightly (for the writer) unchartered waters. To forge through new water requires courage and today I have none. Today I’m a coward, and cowards don’t make good writers.

Yet I don’t want to waste the day, so my lack of courage and my horror of waste are currently battling it out. Bang, wallop, bang. And crash! It’s battle over. I am going to write. This isn’t because courage has suddenly returned. I’m going to write because staring right up at me is that lovely thing known as the delete button. I can write and not write. A perfectly cowardly solution for the perfectly cowardly coward.