On Showing Up

Like everything in life (well, most things) writing is dependent on showing up. If you don’t sit down (or stand) and open your computer (or notepad or whatever) and write, you don’t get words on the page. And if you don’t have words on a page you don’t have stories.

Sometimes those words come easier than others but the truth is it’s almost impossible to tell which ones came easier (easier isn’t necessarily better). Sometimes the words come very slowly, or very quickly. But, if you don’t show up, they don’t show up.

Of course writing isn’t just about one thing, there’s that whole craft side of stuff, and there’s that whole life side of stuff that can be anti-the-showing-of-the-up. But if you can manage the showing up more frequently than the not, and you combine it with a decent period of time, the words will come, and where you put them will be more interesting (or less, there’s no guarantees, but you can hope it will be more interesting).

Ideas are the simple part, it’s the showing up that’s harder, and the more you show up the easier it is.

It’s as easy (and difficult) as that.


A Little Resurfacing

Just coming up for air – between writing, working at Avid, and family visits. I’ve a month or two of crazy busyness ahead, a book to finish, and two books coming out (in case you hadn’t heard).

Still, when a book nears release, you get all sorts of exciting things in the post. Writing isn’t something I dream about, it’s something that I do, and it’s hard work (and fun, really, really fun). But it’s moments like this that you really do dream about, and (five books in) it’s still just as exciting.

This arrived in the post on Friday, and I’d have posted about it before – but, like I said, I was a bit busy.

I’ve been writing for around thirty years, and it’s taken me until I was in my late thirties to experience this, (and I never know which one might be my last) so when I get a chance to hold my book for the first time (even if it’s a proof, the last step before the final book) it’s a real thrill – and a real privilege, a lot of people have worked hard to get the book to this stage, and that’s a lot of faith in a story and a place I made up, in the wonky weird way that I make all things up (including blog posts). Which is why, in this really discursive way (and hey it’s Sunday, and my brain’s a bit mushy) I wanted to post that picture, because it’s a milestone worth celebrating.

The publishing industry (the whole story telling industry) is in a state of flux at the moment, it’s scary (and exciting times). But as a writer who grew up reading SF paperbacks, holding one that you wrote is still one of the most exciting experiences you can have. It certainly makes you feel that you are a small part of a world that you adore. Orbit and Angry Robot have given me that delight, and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel.