Monday, 22 September 2008

Time flying

The reason I have so rarely updated this blog is because my chiefest enemy in writing the book, in fact, seems to be the Internet!I have therefore tried (with varying degrees of success) to avoid being online as I have pressed on with writing throughout the summer.

I read an interesting little book by Patrick Leigh Fermor the other day about the times he spent in European monasteries whilst trying to write. It was peaceful, with a simple life, and he loved it.

I was unable to find a good monastery to visit, but instead went up to my grandmothers old house in Shropshire for a week, which was quiet and productive. But now, I am back in London, and have less than three months to finish the book as well as two or three lectures to give a week in schools. I am again, trying to persuade myself to treat this as a challenge, not a problem!

Monday, 7 July 2008

A day in the life of a writer... according to Don Miller

I have just finished reading Don Miller's heart warming "Blue like Jazz". His description of a writer's life made me laugh:

“Writers don’t make any money at all. We make about a dollar. It is terrible. But then again we don’t work either. We sit around in our underwear until noon then go downstairs and make coffee, fry some eggs, read the paper, read part of a book, smell the book, wonder if perhaps we ourselves should work on our book, smell the book again, throw the book across the room because we are quite jealous that any other person wrote a book, feel terribly guilty about throwing the schmuck’s book across the room because we secretly wonder if God in heaven noticed our evil jealousy, or worse, our laziness. We then lie across the couch facedown and mumble to God to forgive us because we are secretly afraid He is going to dry up all our words because we envied another man’s stupid words. And for this, as I said before, we are paid a dollar. We are worth so much more.”
(Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller, p. 187)

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Lets get started...

"the most important things you can do in life are to plant a tree, write a book, or have a child"
- The Talmud (I think)

Last week I received a book deal from a publisher who I really like... this was quite a surprise to me as I had been bracing myself for disappointment! I now have until November to write it and I know that the experience will be a great challenge, as well as a real privelege.

I thought it would be interesting to keep a record of my rambling thoughts and ponderings as I set out on this new journey - please feel free to drop into this blog at any point to see how I am doing!

I have decided to approach the book writing in the same way that I approached the bike ride - namely, to keep the following two attitudes in mind:

1. There were many moments on the ride when "home" just felt impossibly far away... when I was stuck at the bottom of yet another Tibetan valley, or when I was stuck at the back of yet another queue for visas in a far flung embassy. But by breaking the journey down into chunks, and by just focusing on getting to the next city/country, I gradually made progress, and eventually made it home. In the same way, with the book - I will try to focus on just the next step/page/chapter/section... and so in the end, I will hopefully get through the whole thing.

2. Everyday I was on the bike, I realised that I just had to put in the hours on the saddle - pedalling for 6 or 10 hours every day - even if the going was slow, even if the weather was bad, even if I felt tired, or fed up, or bored... and in the same way, I think I just need to put in a certain number of hours writing the book every day (with occasional days off). In this way, at the end of each day, even if the progress made has only been slight, or even if the progess has come after much struggle - nevertheless progress will still have been made.
As Livingstone said "I will go anywhere, so long as it is forward"!

In any case... I had better get started!

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