Thursday, 4 November 2010

On the benefits of Crappy Jobs for Writers

A little while ago a writer friend of mine stressed the importance, for a writer, of having a crap job. Boring and routine are particularly helpful traits, so that one's mind can be stifled and imprisoned and bursting to break free at the least provocation. I didn't really believe this view, but then I was fortunate to be trapped in exactly the right kind of job. No, I thought he was being foolish – that a job with demands on the intellect must be... rewarding.

Since the time my sage friend passed on this advice things have changed in my circumstances, and it was tempting to hope that they had changed for the better. First I was told that my services would no longer be required, and this was a blow, because even a crap job is better than no job. Then my employers did an about-turn and realised they couldn't manage without me, so they bribed me with toys – they gave me a Blackberry, a laptop and then a fancy car. So yes, I can be bribed with such trappings. But then they slipped another part of the deal into the equation, something dark and unwelcome: They expected me to do some work. Not only work, but cerebral work, hard stuff, stuff that demands the need to think. And they sent me away to places like Luton and London and Leicester to do it.

So that's my excuse for not having filled these pages for nearly two months. It has become hard to write. Time has been stolen away from me. My brain is being overclocked leaving nothing in reserve for quality prose. I need to reboot. I need to get back to writing.

I need a plan. I need to do this systematically. Here's my plan:

Tomorrow I'm off to Bristol, for Bristolcon on Saturday. Surely here I can find inspiration and ideas and people who have more interesting things to talk about than balance sheets and financial instruments.

And then I will restart work on my CERN story, which, I promise, here in public, I PROMISE, will be completed to at least first draft stage before the end of the month.

So there.

Now – lunch over. Back to balance sheet reconciliations.

No comments: