Friday, 13 February 2015


Sometimes, when you’re trying to express yourself the important thing is just to do it, rather than to spend all your time wondering about the best way of doing it. I suppose what I’m saying is that, right at this moment, I think that it is more important for me to actually take part in some kind of creative act than to worry too much about whether it’s any good, or valid, or what I ought to be doing.

There really are few things as scary as a blank page.

Well… maybe a shark…

A shark that eats you just as you’re finally about to write something on a blank page which has been staring at you, all white and full of un-met potential, for hours.

Now that’s scary.

Sometimes I feel as though there’s something bubbling up inside me, trying to find a way out. Not in a gross Alien kind of a way. It’s like there’s an idea, a story that I want to tell, except it’s formless.

No, that’s not quite right. It’s not that it’s formless, because it feels as though the whole thing might leap out, fully formed if only I could catch it. The idea is slippery, or moving so fast round and around in my skull that I can’t get hold of it. I can’t slow it down enough to get it on paper.

Then again, sometimes I have the opposite problem. I grasp the idea and I sit down to write something, but I can’t get it down quickly enough. I have the whole idea, the entire story, right there, all at once, and I can’t write it quickly enough. So my fingers are typing the beginning of the story, while my brain is whizzing along to the end. I lose focus, and then I lose interest because I already know everything that happens and I’m too impatient to get it all down on paper.

That’s bad writing. Or rather, that’s being a bad writer. That’s how you end up with a million ideas and a million stories that you’ve started and barely any completed tales.

It’s partly how I came to love writing short stories, because I can focus on those. By the time my mind has whizzed on to something else, I’ve already written it and then it’s just a case of tweaking and caressing and making it beautiful. Except I have bigger tales to tell, longer stories and I stop myself from writing the short stories because I tell myself I ought to be focussing on bigger projects…

…at which point I refer you to the earlier problem. It’s a vicious circle.

Enough excuses.

If I want to express myself creatively, I just have to do so. I just need to cast aside my own judgement and my own fear and trust that I will find my voice. I just have to start writing and trust that the slippery, whirling storm in my head will allow itself to be eased out on to the scary blank page.

As for the sharks, I think I’m pretty safe from them in Oxford.

Fingers crossed.

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