In a recent tweeted exchange, author Kate Mayfield and I identified the two topics guaranteed to spark interest in Twitter’s community of readers and writers . Was it, perhaps, the essential skill of redrafting? It was not. Was it the magpie process of story-making, filching from here and there to bastardise into a narrative? Nope. Was it the sheer, unromantic trudge of sitting back down at your desk, day after day, to graft and erase and graft again? Well, unsurprisingly: no.
I’ll put you out of your misery. If you’re a writer, the two subjects which will get Twitter talking are… shoes and food. (So if you have anything literary to say, best slip it in there between cupcakes and heels.) I have covered both these topics in my time, and I am as charmed by them as everyone else. I like shoes. I love food. And I find both preferable to the arse-wrenchingly difficult process of writing about writing.
Here’s the thing: writing – for me, anyway – consists of violent swings between polar opposites. It is either going fabulously well, in which case the sun shines, the birds chirp, and small singing animals assist me at my labours, or it’s going atrociously. In these latter periods I snarl at anyone who crosses my path and suffer anticipatory shame against the day when anyone’s unfortunate enough to read the bloody stuff.
I feel pretty uncomfortable writing about either of these states. I hesitate to subject the readers of this blog to either my unremitting joy (dull, smug), nor my hatchet-faced grimness. I’ve only just started blogging, and will have to find a path through this dilemma; there may be some bumps on the way. Sometimes, authors get it gloriously right. Jenn Ashworth did in her outstanding blog, which closed for business last August. You can still read her posts, though; this superb piece is one of the few things I have ever read about writing with which I identify completely.
The reason that I’m chewing over all of this, is that the next few days promise to be uncharacteristically glamorous and wonderful. I’m having a launch party! I’m going on Radio 2! I’m visiting lovely bookshops to sign copies of Jubilee! It’s thrilling; I will probably take pictures. I hope it’s not too dull or smug to tell you about it but, if it helps, I can assure you I’ll be back at my desk shortly afterwards doing the snarling thing again – and there won’t be a singing hamster in sight.
I leave you with this photograph of my Launch Party Shoes. I fully expect the net to go crazy for them.