Could I ever be a writer? I mean, I am a writer, in the same way I am a walker, a breather, a shitter, and a sleeper, a sweater(?), a laugher, a shaver and a sitter. They are all just things I happen to do, whether as a necessity of life, or as an incidental and occasional sort of... thingy. As is writing; it’s just a thing that I do. What I’m obviously really saying is will I ever be a professional writer? Will there be a time when I can fill in a form with the occupation ‘writer’ without lying to myself? Nobody knows, least of all me, and anyone who claims to know otherwise is simply offering platitudes and cheerleading. Unless of course they claim to know that I will definitely never be able to call myself ‘writer’. If that is you, thanks for offering balance, and thanks for fucking off.
After all that it turns out I may not be a writer after all. That first paragraph came flying out in one long exhaled pitter-pattering of the keyboard, but immediately followed by a crashing wall of inactivity. The moment I stopped typing I stopped thinking, and that quickly allowed my eyes to drift towards the TV remote control. I should have yanked my eyes back to the screen, but instead my fingers followed, and before I knew it that little red button was pressed and I was staring at a 32” vision of Stephen Fry’s face. As the national treasure continued his US tour south of the Mason/Dixon line, my hand clasped the mouse and minimised the Word document. After that it’s a downward spiral into twitter, facebook, wikipedia and various news sites.
I’m certainly not the first to make this observation, and there will be an unending chain of others ahead of me sprouting the same, but it seems likely that the very procrastination that prevents me from the physical act of writing, is what classifies me as a writer. Can I convince myself that when I am not writing, when I am scratching my arse and sniffing my finger, or making a cup of tea and watching repeats on TV, I am actually making the mental preparations needed for some future writing session? As it is I am spending more time on this blog than I am on other writing projects. The last few days have seen me make some major headway on a radio script, but the habit of starting projects and coming nowhere near to finishing them is one I suffer heavily with.
To top it all off there is the impending danger that I will soon be enduring the distraction of a day job, which promises to be enjoyable, but will certainly threaten my evenings and weekends while providing slight financial reward. A bit of money in the bank, even that provided by a paltry minimum wage, is welcomed, but when unsatisfactorily employed I always arrive at the conclusion that my time is more valuable than money. And there lies the reason I want to be a writer. Time spent writing is time well spent. Time spent earning in an office or shop floor is time very poorly spent. There exists somewhere a world in which I am writing, enjoying it, and being richly rewarded for my happy efforts. Can that world be this one?