Monday, 2 January 2012


One of my favourite quotes from still-fab-though-nearly-ubiquitous Miranda Hart is: "I'm beginning to think the new me is significantly worse than the old me!"  Excellent post-New Year point - it's very tempting to awfulize the old you in a bid to stake out new territory for the new one. But actually, writers (and humans, their close relations) are an on-going mess of perpetual imperfection.

So instead of thinking about all the bad things I did in 2011, with the oceans of Peroni/Tempranillo and mountains of Kettle Crisps (Lightly Salted) at the top of the list, I am thinking instead about all the words I actually wrote, and the more than a dozen times I really did jog round Queen's Park, in real life.

In this spirit, today I wrote in my new journal - five pages, let me tell you - but on January 2nd, not the 1st. Nothing anal about that.  And while I have stopped drinking for a month - which is going to hurt - I ate a Ripple bar about an hour ago, all casual and guilt free.

And so, this is my first official post on How to be a Writer for this year. Rule one - and thought for January. Don't expect too much of yourself. This means getting away from your desk and looking at the world, and feeding your imagination and your emotions. (There is a good reason why writers and booze go together like 'pina' and 'colada', and that's the fact that over-sensitivity is part of the writing psyche. Factor this in. No point torturing yourself if everyone else has already stuck the boot in.)

Yesterday I walked along the Brighton seafront in the mist and rain and drank tea in Hove. Today I went to Brighton art gallery and looked at Victorian children's corsets - yes, they really did exist - and the tools of a 21st century plastic surgeon's trade. Not for any reason, just randomly.