Don’t be ridiculous. Of course I haven’t run out of blog ideas. It’s only the end of January. This is important stuff!
Okay, important might be stretching it, but this was actually really fun. So, without further ado:
The A-Z of the Writer’s Life
(Because you always wanted to know, right?)
A: Authors. That’s us. Even if we don’t feel like that’s what we are an awful lot, and need constant reassurance and regular infusions of chocolate to believe it.
B: Blogs. First because we think we should, later because it gives us an excuse to inflict our thoughts on unsuspecting internet readers.
C: Caffeine. Lots of it. Lots.
D: Drafts. So many drafts. Why are there so many? Why is there never really a final draft?
E: Editing. The word we don’t like to talk about, because there’s even more of it than there are drafts.
F: Fans. What we want. The kind that read our books, not the kind that move air around. Although in summer they’re nice, too.
G: Goals. Those things that shift a lot.
H: Headaches. Because our characters do things that we didn’t say they could do, and very rarely do what we want them to do. Also grammar, and real life interfering with our Work.
I: Insecurity. Lots of it. Will I finish this horrible draft? Will I make it less horrible? Will other people think it’s horrible? Will they think I’m horrible? Am I a horrible writer, or a horrible person, or both?
J: Jokes. Things we’re sure we tell badly, or else something that we suspect we may actually be. Not sure.
K: Kettle. Vital writer equipment. Enables us to fuel our caffeine habit, make pot noodles, and serves as a fantastic procrastination tool.
L: Laughter. Used as deflection when someone asks us how our little book is coming on. Often has a slightly desperate edge.
M: Murder. What we research more than is probably healthy, and said searches are probably why we’re on FBI watch lists.
N: Nightmares. In which we find ourselves at a writers’ conference, pitching an erotic comedy to an agent who represents only literary fiction.
O: Oh. As in oh my god, oh help me, oh bollocks, oh no what was I thinking, and other things I can’t print here.
P: Proofreading. Because editing wasn’t enough. Editing is never enough.
Q: Quiet. What we insist we need, then get a little uneasy about when we actually get it. Is there a tap dripping? I think the fridge is coming on too often. I did not know the cat snored that loudly. Wow. All this quiet is distracting. How am I meant to work like this?
R: Research. Where we find out about interesting ways to kill people, untraceable poisons, how to dismember a body, and other titbits that don’t really help us in small talk situations.
S: Sighs. Many, and escalating as the drafts mount up.
T: Twitter. Where we ‘connect with readers’ and ‘build our audience’. Also known as hanging out with other writers, sharing bad jokes and pretending to work.
U: Unclear. Our characters’ motives, the plot, and our own memories of where we were going when we started this piece. Also our motivations for ever getting into this bewildering swamp of creativity.
V: Vague. Our behaviour when forced to leave the computer and socialise. Also known as ‘unsociable’, ‘awkward’, and sometimes ‘weird’.
W: Wikipedia. Where we fall down rabbit holes of unrelated research and emerge days later knowing the exact breeding cycle of the lesser red-spotted yak fly, but nothing more about the historical relevance of penny whistles, which is what we went in for.
X: X. Usually written large, in red, across vast swathes of manuscript while editing.
Y: Yowl. The sound the cat makes when we step on her in the dark while going to write down an amazing idea that’s just occurred to us at 3 am. Alternatively: Yelp, the sound the dog makes, and also the sound we make when we walk into the bathroom door.
Z: Zero. The amount of regret we have about any of this. Most of the time, anyway.
So let me know, lovely people – any additions to this alphabet? Any substitutions? Tell me your thoughts!