Thursday, 12 September 2013

Not Riding The Wave

I want to make this short because the more time I spend on this the less time I have free to spend on actual productive writing.

I like to write stories. I constantly think up new stories, make notes, do research. But I really struggle to maintain the momentum. I feel like the surfer who is waiting for the perfect wave, sitting on his board, feeling the stir of the water, watching the level ride. Every time I can feel, you know, this is the one. I’m going to ride this one out. I’m going to get on my feet and give it my best shot. And each time it climbs up, and I chicken out, I don’t rise to the challenge, I let it wash past me and the level fall again.

There are a few reasons. Firstly I get distracted, by other waves. I start thinking I could devote my energies to chasing after another cool looking wave and then another, and so I spend a lot of time paddling around in circles. Secondly, although I love the idea of riding the wave, catching the momentum, the wind in my hair, I doubt my own abilities. I know I am not a surfer. I know that I’ll need to stand up and fall off a few times before I gain the canny instincts to ride a wave out to the shoreline, but I’m terrified of making an idiot of myself. And thirdly, I guess with the dawn of social media, in particularly Twitter, I’m now painfully aware how many other surfers there are out there that are ‘professional’, that I shouldn’t even be taking people’s time up to talk to them about it when I’m really just a pretender, makes me embarrassed to even be seen presuming I’ll be able to surf with the best of them.

I’ve had a few kicks up the arse recently, that are making me think there’s another wave coming, and I’m hoping I can hone the discipline to stand on my own two feet, and aim for shore… John Niven, in this week’s ShortList magazine, says “The idea that everybody has a novel in them… if you’ve only got a novel in you, I’m not interested”, reminding me of all the half-finished stories I’ve got floating in limbo, some barely committed to digital media, some just lingering on note books or as ideas in my head, that I could be telling… but perhaps more importantly he says “If you’re writing a novel and you don’t have a bit of apprehension – because you’re treading in some fairly huge footsteps – then you’re an idiot. I ran from writing.” I’ve been running from writing for a long time. And that doesn’t even fit with my surfing analogy.

I know I’ve got to discipline myself, and not worry so much about what everyone else thinks, so I’ll likely cut down on the social media for a bit (or, at least, tone it the fuck down). Let this post serve as a note to others, but mostly as a reminder to myself.

Hi. My name is Simon. I write stories. I write shitty little analogies. And, hopefully, one day I’ll write something you enjoy reading.

Incidentally, some of my writings can be found here: