Throwing the book

I started this blog to support my efforts to get writing. It was a week before England’s second lockdown began. Like a lot of people, I believed I had a book in me. And I thought the pandemic would provide the room to write it.

I’ve done a lot of things during the pandemic. I got into the habit of long midnight walks. I worked out, and then I stopped working out. I got into Pokémon cards, podcasts, audiobooks and crypto. I watched the Adam Curtis documentary series Can’t Get You Out of My Head, countless episodes of Friends, and the third series of Succession. I’ve been hooked to social media.

I also got engaged. I moved from one newspaper to another. I reunited with (real) friends between lockdowns. I’ve felt happy and ordinary between the dark moments.

I’ve done a lot of things during the pandemic, yes, but not much writing.

A new idea for a novel came to me a couple of months ago. Let’s call it a ghost story. Late last year, I learnt of a new competition for first-time novelists. I planned to write thousands of words a day to meet the competition’s deadline in April. My present word count? 1,300. Every sentence is a room but I can’t always find the key.

I could have added more words tonight. Instead, I watched the first episode of Euphoria with some microwaved popcorn and went on a walk in the rain while listening to Foreverland, a book about marriage by Heather Havrilesky. And then I wrote this.

Seriously writing

I go for days, sometimes weeks, without writing. I should read more, too. I check my phone too often, even after turning all my notifications off. I watched all of The Sopranos in the first few weeks of the lockdown. I thought I would begin to seriously write after that. But the only thing that makes me write is sitting down to do it. Is this serious writing?

National novel writing month, or Nanowrimo, is round the corner. You write 50,000 words in a month and you have a novel. I took part in 2017 and booked the first week off work to get a headstart. It worked. I got the T-shirt. The novel was bad, obviously, but it was good practice.

I won’t be taking part this year. I prefer to go at a slower pace. Not as slow as recently, though.