Daily Archives: August 23, 2006

Writing a Novel

Yes, I’ve been thinking about it. Actually, I hate the tag ‘creative writing’ – sounds like a college course. Argh. My ‘Life after PhD’ will quite naturally contain a lot of free time (hopefully) – i.e. all those hours of the last 4 years that I spent on writing the bloody thesis. That’s over 300 words. Now, since I’m already used to the research and labour of writing, I thought I might as well continue to write, only this time, on my terms 🙂

Solution: a novel. A work of fiction. A famous Scottish author, Ian Rankin, did a PhD in English (I think – not 100% sure. but he’s definitely got a doctorate). Of course, I’ve already got one ‘novel’ under my belt. Some 6-8 years ago, I penned an experimental, 100-pages-piece of fiction titled kon. It never made it to publication 😉 ; however, it was extremely enjoyable to write and since I was a kid I wanted to become a writer. I think that doing the PhD has equipped me with many tools that will come in handy if I did attempt to write a(nother) novel. For example:

– ability to do research (if novel is to be set in a certain historic/cultural context)

– ability to do writing as work (writing-as-profession rather than hobby or pleasure; i.e. it’s actually hard work to be a disciplined writer and not just do it for ‘fun’)

–  ability to sustain interest over a long period of time, and rework and edit material

The only downside would be that I already spend at least 50 hours a week on the computer, as it’s my main form of income (i have an Internet-based job – nothing dirty though 🙂 ). If I did write a novel, I would sit at it all day every day, for up to 12 hours.

There again, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 4 years, so it wouldn’t be a massive change.

I’d actually really like to give it a try. Write one novel, give it my best, and see whether the end result is any good, and if I’d manage to find a publisher. I’m happy to spend up to 3 years on it (mabye 4, but that would be a bit of a stretch…) and then lay it to rest for good, if it didn’t work out.

If I did do it, I’d get another wordpress blog for my writer’s diary. Though that would be a private blog and not public.

Whatever Happened to Handkerchieves?

My grandfather used to use one and we used them as kids. I just haven’t seen one in a long time and I don’t think I would use them to blow my nose nowadays. It just seems a bit messy and gross. Even Wikipedia thinks hankies are controversial:

Use of handkerchief instead of facial tissue paper is often seen as old-fashioned and, especially in North America, unhygienic. On the other hand, some see it as a more environment-conscious choice. In Japan, carrying or using a handkerchief is considered to be well-educated.

I actually like the look of a hanky, just wouldn’t use it for my nose. Maybe to wipe my face.