Writing Down The Names

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Writing about writing often seems like a futile activity at best. A passive-aggressive exercise in self-aggrandisement at worst. But that’s from the outside. Internally it helps iron some of the crinkles from the sheets I fill with ink and smooth the lumps from the duvet-fillings of plot. Or simply makes the process less individual, less isolated.

Either way, I have been known to scoff when seeing Facebook updates about ‘writing here’ or ´composing there´ and yet, at least once a week I am doing the very same thing here. This week, I have to admit, has not been good for novel or poetry writing. I have done fearful little of either. I have however managed to blog and write a lot of pitches, develop a proposal and write some articles… none the less I get to Friday feeling like I have missed a target, missed a trick, flushed another week.

The last two weeks have been amazing (not much writing then either, incidentally.)I was invited along on two press trips by the city of Amsterdam. The first was for the Spring Flower explosion that the Netherlands is rightly so proud of and the second, very close to my heart, was a beer tour of the city.

Whenever I have used the moniker ´journalist´ to describe myself, I have always been very careful to append the world ´lifestyle´ to it… I remain in awe of those news people who flush out actual hard to find stories about politics, crime and social issues that really matter. My preserve has always been the slightly fluffier domain of the ´nice to haves´ of lifestyle journalism. I am a writer first, always a journalist second or third.

Meeting fellow journalists then, I am always a bit nervous. But excited. And it was great to spend the best part of two weeks with a group of people who are also fascinated with the world, like to ask strange questions and experience new things… and mostly a group of people who also play with words all the time and who are trying to transmit something, anything, through the imperfect radio of language to an audience.

My cop-out response with regards to my own low writing output is that it has been an inspirational two weeks… and it has. Or that I was too busy… and I was. But those are just excuses to not put in the 30 or 60 minutes I should because actually, my brain was spinning and I couldn’t focus. I also don’t really like re-writing, even though I love how it improves my work!

Part 1 of my novel ‘Johannesburg’ has now been subbed, re-read, corrected, pieces added to it and all that remains is to complete the brand new opening to the entire novel… This is all taking way, way longer than I thought or wanted, but it is taking as long as it will take and I think I am almost OK with that.

And OK, writing a brand new opening is a little intimidating.

I have notes
And stuff
And one paragraph to show for 1 weeks rumination and thought.
Monday. I’ll nail that opening on Monday.

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