Tag Archives: Writer

Turning off the Interface

I’m going to take a break again from blogging. I’m not in fact taking ‘a break’ – I’ll just be using the free time in the mornings towards my story and other offline activities for a while. It’s all part of the move to remove myself from being interfaced.

Whenever I increase my efforts of communication, I end up in a situation where I’m then being talked to. This happened the other day when I responded to an email sent by an old London friend (we go back 15 years). It then turns into a ‘dialogue’ with a follow-up email if I don’t respond to a couple of points. That’s why I uninstalled Skype, msn, deactivated Facebook etc.  – I just don’t like being interfaced.

Luckily, my BF is the same. The ideal scenario for us is to just be recluses and do things together or separately (him on the Xbox 360, me reading The Guardian or pottering), without anyone else involved other than the cat 😀

As for the writing – I have started my story. Once it’s done, I will discuss next steps on here. I’m sure I’ll also be back with my plans for 2010, seeing that ’09 is nearly over. I have a feeling 2010 will be important – certainly some key things must happen. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Word Count for my Short Story

I’ve got my hands on the latest edition of the magazine I’m aiming to send my short story to. While I hadn’t previously known whether or not it published fiction, this time round it has a short story in it (2 pages). Great!

This means that the idea of sending it there has turned a bit more real. Word count of the short story is around the 1,500 mark, which means that’s roughly what I’ll be aiming for. The next step is to actually start writing it. I should be in a position where I have my bureau back tonight or tomorrow – currently still sanding a final bit of built-in wardrobe in my writer’s room, resulting in dust and dirt all over the place and no furniture in a fit position to be used.

Alternatively, I could try typing on this computer here while the other room is still in chaos. It’s worth a try – though against my initial idea of handwriting. There again, I may just be romanticising my hands and this imagined sensual, more authentic process :D.

I’ll see what happens. It would make sense to utilise the occasional morning I devote to this blog to the story instead.

One week off is not enough

Today is the last day of my ‘week off’ from work, and it hasn’t been enough (at all! at fucking all!) to do everything that I had planned to do:

  1. lying on the bed reading
  2. writing the short story
  3. decorating my writer’s room

The above three items were only the ‘core activities’ I wanted to do, alongside other more holiday-type enjoyable ones such as:

  1. going to see Tilda Swinton featured in the ‘Famous Scots’ exhibition currently on at ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh
  2. walking into town checking out charity shops (especially in ‘posher areas’ e.g. Morningside)
  3. COOKING a few warm meals (during the working week, I tend to eat only sandwiches as I have no time or energy to cook)
  4. just being idle with no need to do anything at all

From the ‘core activities’, I’ve managed to do a smidgeon of (1) – not more than usual to be honest; only one morning spent on (2); and painting 2x chairs and 1x door of (3) – the rest of decorating will be done once I finish this.

From the ‘added activities’, I’ve only managed to do (3) ONCE (last night), and as for (2), on the first day (Monday) I went to all the charity shops in Leith, but that’s it.

I’m clearly one of the people who would not run out of things to do if they were without a regular 9-5 job. It would take at least 6 months to tackle the backlog of projects that have accumulated over the years (I’m still to create a couple of music videos from rehearsal room footage of my old band from about 8 years or so ago!). In fact, yesterday I had another idea for a project which I should write down into my scrap book, lest I forget.

And for those who know Deutschpunk, here are some lyrics of a song that I’ve been enjoying while decorating. It’s good to know that listening to this kind of stuff when I was younger has had a greater influence on me than I probably realised at the time 😛

Wenn ich nach Hause komme, sitzt da ein alter Typ
Er sagt, er wär’ mein Vater, und ich glaub’ auch, daß er’s ist
Wir sehen uns nur manchmal, und dann reden wir nicht viel
Doch wenn wir reden, sagt er: “Junge, aus dir wird mal nicht viel
Alles, was du anfängst, hörst du gleich wieder auf
Du kannst doch nie ‘ne Familie ernähren, und du kriegst auch keine Frau
Du mußt arbeiten, du mußt schuften so wie ich”
Aber ich will nicht werden, was mein Alter ist, nee
Ich will nicht werden, was mein Alter ist
Ich möchte aufhör’n und pfeifen auf das Geld
Ich weiß, wenn das so weitergeht, bin ich fertig mit der Welt
Arbeit macht das Leben süß, so süß wie Maschinenöl
Ich mach den ganzen Tag nur Sachen, die ich gar nicht machen will
Ich möchte gern mal meinem Chef die Möbel geradezieh’n
Doch ich krieg die Faust nicht aus der Tasche, ich weiß nicht mehr, was ich will
Ich möchte am liebsten abhau’n, wenn’s zuhause wieder kracht
Ich warte jeden Montagmorgen schon auf Freitagnacht
Aber ich will nicht werden, was mein Alter ist, nee
Ich will nicht werden, was mein Alter ist
Ich möchte aufhör’n und pfeifen auf das Geld
Ich weiß, wenn das so weitergeht, bin ich fertig mit der Welt

Writers’ Tools – The Writing Desk (Bureau)

The other day, I very nearly put my beautiful Stag mahogany writing desk onto ebay, in order to make some quick cash. I figured at the time that I would only be writing on a computer anyway, and that the bureau was going to take up valuable space in what I’m currently transforming into my writing room.

How sinfully wrong to think that way! Luckily, due partly to comments on this blog (the value of writing by hand, rather than typing), combined with the realisation of the value and beauty of my desk, made me pull the plug in the middle of listing the item.


Yesterday, I made a start on my short story, on the bureau. Not the actual story itself, but characterisation, plot, and any other pre-writing thoughts (incidentally, the process triggered another idea, to do with old photographs and nothing related to writing – but it goes to show that the mind, when actively engaged in creative pursuits, is ‘liberated’ or freed to expand and spark).

I’m not sure how far I’ll get with my story this week. I have various ‘admin-type’ things to do – stuff that you don’t have time for while you’re working, and which therefore takes up much of your holiday or any other ‘time off’! Another illustration of the ludicrous pointlessness of working full-time.

Practical tip no.2: Software for Writers

In the olden days, I used to handwrite into an A4 – exercise book from school. I eventually bought an Olympus typewriter – very analogue but at the time the only mechanical device I could afford (computers were still fairly expensive in 1995! Difficult to imagine today).

This didn’t hinder my writing. There is in fact a great advantage to be had from handwriting into notebooks: they can be taken anywhere and serve as an ad-hoc surface for noting down thoughts.

Writing on a computer has never had the same appeal to either of the above methods. Word processing software connotes 9-5 office work, and was seemingly invented to draft dull pieces of efficient communication meant to  generate specific responses.  Opening Word, it places me by default into this context.

Hence, I’ve been looking for writing software. I remembered that a few years ago, my friend Maciej pointed me towards Writer’s Cafe, a

powerful but simple to use story development tool that dramatically accelerates the creation and structuring of your novel or screenplay.

I searched for it again and downloaded it a few days ago.  I’ll use it (for the first time) next week when I’ll be on annual leave for a week. I want to write (= start and complete) this first, new story, about my former downstairs neighbour and her partner, the wife beater.