Journal #28

I seem to always be saying this, but I’ll say it again: it’s been a while since my last journal entry. So fair warning to readers: these posts are largely pointless digressions about my personal life, so if you’re looking for stuff about my books, move on to another post.
If you happen to be interested in the life and times of moi, read on.

Writing has at different times meant different things in my life. It started as a hobby, became an escape, matured into an artistic outlet, and at some point was in danger of becoming an obligation. Now, it has changed once again.
Brace yourself for something bilious: it’s what I am.
I know, wow.

Take it easy, I’m not making some grand gesture. All I mean is that it forms the central trunk from which all other aspects of my life hang. It’s the only thing I would never consider giving up. I like to think I could handle the loss of a lot of things in my life; sometimes I imagine not succeeding in the conventional sense; not owning my own home, having a career, finding true love, all that.
I could live with that, I think. Not everyone’s lives end up fluffy and twee.
But I could never stop writing. I can seldom fathom what form my life would take without it. To picture it is to conjure a mental image that refuses to be anything but monochromatic.

I imagine that’s the way things are with most writers. It’s how we process things, make sense of our lives. There is some evidence that writers’ brains are structurally different to those of the average person. One can’t help but attach all kinds of observations about writers to that: strong empathic tendencies, a habit of storing up quirky characters and sensations and sights and sounds like magpies, a penchant for the melodramatic.

I don’t know how much reading into any of that is valid. All I know is that the process of writing puts things in perspective for me, like any hobby. Some people whittle sticks down to toothpicks, some fish, some hike. The bonus of my processing technique is that I get to share the output with other people.

Of late, I’ve had more people than usual email me after they’d read my stuff. Speaking with them, I’ve realised just how much I value reaching out to readers on a personal level. To get an email, engage with a fan, know them even briefly and come away enlivened by a kindred mind, is far more valuable to me than the adulation of some faceless crowd.

It’s something I think I always knew implicitly, but never consciously thought about. I’m not in this for fame or money or praise; I just want to write stories, and if a few people enjoy them and want to write in and natter about them, that’s fantastic.

I want to thank the people who have reached out to me over the last month or so. Your words and encouragement mean everything, and make all the stress and woe and struggle of publishing, worthwhile. Cheers, wonderful people!


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