Friday, 3 February 2012

Why I Write (and why you should too!)

Spring. It’s not quite here, but you can feel it coming. There’s a rash of snowdrops scattered under the tree just outside my window and I’ve left the door of my little garden office slightly ajar this morning. It’s still frosty, but there’s sunshine on the glass; there’s no mistaking that it’s a new year with everything that implies.

Not quite my garden, but similar!
Fitting then that I’ve just written the first page of the third Ravenwood book. I don’t have much of a plan, just a stream of consciousness at the moment – April’s leaving that famous yellow door, wandering through Highgate, should she go down to the cemetery? What will be waiting for her? Gabriel? A vengeful sucker? The police? I don’t know either yet, but that’s the fun part.

Sometimes, I’ll admit, writing novels can be hard work. When I’m a hundred thousand words in, there’s a deadline looming and I’m still working way past midnight for the third night in a row, I wish I could finish work at five O’Clock like everyone else. But on nights like that, it’s days like today I dream of, days when anything (well anything within my own self-created world, anyway) is possible.

And that’s why I write. To be creating something new. Not necessarily the world’s greatest literary work – in my case, definitely not – but something other people might like to read. Of course, there are other benefits to being a writer. You get to set your own hours, you can bugger off to Cornwall (or Hawaii or Zambia) whenever you like and no one gives you a funny look if you want to have lunch early.

But mostly you do it for the tingle you get setting down the words on a sharp, clear morning like this, making something appear from nowhere. On days like today, it’s the best job in the world.

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