The other week, as part of that three questions meme, Andrew asked why I don’t write more comics. You can see the answer I gave him here, but it’s something I want to think on a bit more here, because I really haven’t written anything since last November, and other than that, I haven’t really written much at all in the last couple of years.
Part of it is laziness. I get in from the day job, and by the time I’ve had dinner, and gone to the gym/unwound after work, I get to the prospect of a couple of hours more work versus goofing off, or watching a DVD, and goofing off wins more than perhaps it should. My work ethic is for shit. Also, since I stopped drinking coffee late at night, I find that I naturally want to sleep about about 11, 11:30, and as I’ve observed before, that’s been the point where my writing neurons wake up in the past. But if I’ve got the discipline to force myself to go to the gym, I should be able to get past that.
Part of it is a change in my ambitions. I used to want to be a professional writer, probably of comics, since that’s the only medium I feel I’m really and good with, but these days I’m so fucking sick of the comics industry (and let me just say that I’m so fucking relieve to be done writing columns about it – almost as relieved as the people that bravely tried to read the tripe I’ve been coming out with for months) that the notion of working in it full time fills me with horror. But still, just becuase I don’t want to do it full time doesn’t mean I can y’know, hold down a proper job, and write less than a full-time writer would.
A greater part of it, I suspect, is that I’m just plain happier with myself that I was three or four years ago. I’ve heard it said that for some people, writing is a means to compensate for a lack of intimacy in their lives. I’m pretty sure that’s true of me – I was at my most productive when I was miserable, self-loathing, and wanting to connect with the world but feeling that I had no-one to talk to. (The work I was producing at the time, I would like to note, was in some cases, pretty good, and did not reflect my mental state, because that would have been teen angst poetry, and I am happy to report that I never wrote that, even as an angsty teen.) I have since sorted my head out, and do not a) hate myself or b) feel like I am unable to connect with people. I’m not sure what to do about this one, obviously.
Following on from that, to some extent my interests as a writer have shifted. I’ve got a file of old ideas, and most of them no longer interest me, because they’re just plain thin. There’s (to my mind) no heart in them. Some of them might be very entertaining, and I’d probably enjoy reading them, if someone else wrote them, but there’s nothing I feel I want to say with them. And anything I feel like I would want to write also feels like it would have an audience of one. I’ll permit myself the vanity of Take A Walk, because a part of that involves keep a promise I made, so I’ve got to finish it, however long it takes, but other than that, well, if I’m not writing anything that other people might be interested in, there’s no point.
There are a few old projects that still interest me, but perhaps that’s just because I could never make them work – Marlowe would be top of that list, for instance.
And lastly perhaps: I was talking with Alex and Rob the other day (and while I’m thinking of it, you should all go and check out Alex’s site – she’s a much better writer than me) and Alex made the remark that she has loads of project on the go at once, so that in the event of stalling on one, she can switch over to another, which is similar to how I used to work.
Maybe it’s just that simple – if, rather than trying to bull my way through a couple of projects, I just start scribbling things down lef right and centre again, I’ll find myself getting back to work. If I can just overcome all the other hurdles…