They say builders’ houses fall down around them. Plumbers look after everyone else’s drains while the family loo requires a dance for the toilet-gods and a thump of the cistern for it to flush properly. Mechanics care for customers’ cars while a half dozen chassis rust in their own backyard and two remain half fixed in the garage. That’s what they say, anyhow, if gross generalisations are to be believed. Maybe there’s something in it, given a friend accidently mucked up their own tax return while working on the help desk at the tax office. Who can say? If there is something in it, I wonder what kind of writer I am.
I’ve read about the art of writing online – writing techniques and tricks to great characters and plots. I still have a lousy understanding of grammar but I’ve read the blogs of established authors, and the blogs of pending (read: working-their-arse-off) authors. I’ve spent time examining writing. I write blog posts about how I’m not writing. I’ve learnt reading makes you write better, so I write blog posts about not reading.
The only thing I haven’t done is buy books on the subject. I’ve been tempted, but I can’t shake the irony of buying books about writing books to not write books. I tell myself sternly that only dreamers buy how-to-write books, while writers, they write. I’ve read enough already to know the best cure for not writing is writing. I don’t want to be the builder who can’t build their own house.
This thing is, when I am writing I spend more time re-reading what I’ve written. I self-edit so prematurely I always end up with drafts of drafts such that I have been known to forget which one’s the current version. My default self-edit appears to be tuned to obsessive-compulsive. They say first draft is for the writer, but which one?
This got me googling ‘writing apps’. Maybe there’s an application out there that freezes your ability to edit once the words are on the page. Or at each hundred-word milestone, the previous hundred become blackened like a censored letter so you can only move forward. Or something. Or! Or, I could simply write and not look back.
I follow writers’ blogs. None of them mention writers’ apps or how-to-write books – none of them (unless they, themselves are writing such an app or book). They don’t pin their success on anything other than reading and finding the time to write, everyday, for as long as it takes to finish.
I’m only panicking because I wrote some writerly resolutions for 2015. Am I a dreamer or a writer?
My current status? Willing writers’ will.
All I need to do now is drop that apostrophe.