So things change again. I should be used to it, you know, but I’m not. I like consistency and I like to know where I am with things. Call me predictable, but hey that’s who I am (I once had a girlfriend who said I wasn’t spontaneous enough and to prove the point she broke up with me right out of the blue); but while I’ve certainly become a little more unpredictable in my years, I certainly prefer simplicity when it comes to the writing; it makes for a more conducive working environment, you see.
At the moment, there is nothing simple about my life. At the moment family and the day-job are conspiring to make my life complicated. There is no secret that my day-job is less desirable than my writing life, but I’ve stuck it out over the last year or so because it’s given me a collision of public life, of meeting people with vastly different life-stories and this can only help my writing – but it is very demanding and emotionally draining. Coupled with a very young family (one toddler, one four month old), I am being physically and mentally pummelled which makes the writing just that bit harder.
That’s not to say I’m not writing, nor am I not blogging – in fact I’m blogging more now than I have in the last 12 months – but the projects that I want to embark on are, in reality, far too ambitious for this writer in these circumstances.
Purgatory was meant to be the project for 2011/2012, and yet because of its massive scope I’ve had to shelve it. It’s too big, even for me at this moment in time. After three research-heavy novels (The Secret War, The Hoard of Mhorrer, and The Black Hours) I find I don’t have the energy to do any new research-heavy projects in the short term.
It’s why I found Those Grey Test Hits so appealing to me, and why this week I started writing another new short novel, a story called Now Comes the Sound of Tiny Feet, a fantasy horror that touches on society’s treatment of people with mental health issues and the somewhat Byzantine nature of post-trauma, as well as good old-fashioned pulp-fiction ideas. It’s a book with very limited research, so it’s something I can just jump into and write, which for me is a good thing.
There’s a danger of stagnating when writing something that is just not engaging at that moment, yet compelling yourself to write it anyway (because, good writing should not come easy, they say – and that’s true – but let’s not confuse good writing with unsuitable ideas here). A writer should adapt to circumstances. They do that or they die a writer’s death and never pick up a pen or a keyboard again. And there are many who are doing that – artistically dying. Call it financial burdens, or domestic circumstances, or simply burn-out due to the broken promises of publishing, but the highway is now littered with the broken carriages of books half-completed, their writers MIA, looking for something else that will not test their sanity and guarantee they can feed the partner, and kids/pets.
It’s all about adapting, and that’s what I’m doing right now. What that adaptation leads to in the short term is anybody’s guess, but hopefully you’ll get to read those results in the coming months…