At risk of sounding like a songwriter singing about writer’s block, I’m a month into blogging, so it’s probably time to blog about blogging.
For a start, it’s harder than it looks, which admittedly isn’t hard. You stare at the screen with the sort of expression facing middle class problems, like what to buy builders in thanks for the sort of hard work that went out of fashion with Stalin. Any alien dropping in would wonder why you aren’t doing a proper job, like building, instead of eking out tea under the resentful eye of the coffee shop proprietor while hovering your fingers over a keyboard.
I once harboured intentions to be a newspaper columnist, until I realised that for good copy you need interesting things happening to you. All the time. Local parks are populated by drinkers, people without gardens, and columnists hoping a dog will run off with their hereto-blank notes, or something. Anything. It’s already hard enough spending life waiting for something interesting to happen, without not getting paid when it doesn’t. It’s whole new levels of self-flagellation.
For a blogger, every minutiae of life is scanned and rated for possible anecdote, until I realise that drinking apple juice from what appears to be a recycled beer bottle (artisan probably) is the most rebellious thing I’ve done for 6 months, and that’s only if wearing Converse hi-tops counts. That’s even before logging into your blog from a 2nd email address, in order to bolster visitors that only you know the figures in the sort of horrifyingly dark spiral that would have even Arthur Schopenhauer spluttering into his nihilism.
It’s the occupational hazard of writers that sitting in cafes drinking tea quietly self-congratulating yourself on not having a ‘proper’ job, (generally perceived as being paid to nod at ‘initiatives’ without yawning on a daily basis), isn’t riveting copy. In the cafes there’ll be fleeting eye contact with another writer, followed by shared disappointment that it’s not enough to fill 2 words, much less 500. A little later they’re probably considering the same thing: whether it’s worth tweeting about how uncomfortably hot ears get in decent headphones (tagged under #firstworldproblems). What many writers have forgotten is that they wanted to write because they enjoyed reading, but you don’t get paid for reading, they thought, so I’ll write. Well, you barely get paid for writing either now, so with the pay parity why not stick to what you enjoyed in the first place. Pick up a book, smile, and get a job; something’s bound to happen there.
My first novel, the Life Assistance Agency was published in September by Urbane Publishing and is available here – myBook.to/lifeassistance