Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘signings’

Writing is…

I was watching Matt Haig on the television this morning and was impressed by his openness and how much good sense he spoke. I also wondered how on earth he’s managed to write so much and so well, considering his struggles with depression. The popular stereotypes of the writer seem to be either a rich dilettante declaiming aloud whilst a nervous and wispy secretary follows them around taking down every precious word or, more commonly, a tortured genius wrestling with self doubt, drinking heavily and somehow wresting great works from the edge of the abyss. Of course, it’s much more mundane than that. Writing is long hours sitting alone, sometimes with ideas bubbling away excitedly but more often inching towards a daily, then weekly target. It is flirting with repetitive strain injury and running up and down the stairs to see exactly what the damn dogs are barking at. And then losing the perfect phrase you had in your head – for ever.
Writing is a lot of hope, even more waiting and an ocean of disappointment. It is knowing you’ve written something good but no-one will so much as glance at it. It’s a lot of standing around with a fixed smile hoping someone will come to the table and look at your book. There are radio talks that seem to pass unheeded and readings fraught with terror in case no-one comes. Writing, my friend, is not for the faint-hearted.
So why do we do it? Well, there is the thrill of seeing your name on a book – a real, honest-to-goodness commercially published book. There are the people who email or (occasionally) stop you in the street and comment favourably on what you’ve written. And there are the moments where after hours of work suddenly the whole thing comes together in a single seamless whole – plot, story, character and setting combined to tell a tale.
But there are a lot of setbacks in writing. A whole lot of nos. I’ve had a rough few months. A whole heap of confusion, the problems everyone gets whether they’re a writer or not. Things I was hoping for didn’t turn out as I expected. One or two were big disappointments. Sometimes it feels very hard, getting up only to be knocked down again but – well, if I didn’t do this I don’t know what I’d do. Perhaps it’s the same with Matt Haig. Perhaps that’s what keeps all writers scribbling away against the odds.
We’ve got nowhere else to go.

A lovely morning in Guisborough

Well, I spent a really nice couple of hours at Guisborough Bookshop yesterday (Saturday). They’d put up a display of the two books and a disturbingly large copy of the “gazing moodily out to sea” picture and I set up my stall, more books, pen and a heap of bookmarks.

People were very friendly – only one man refused a bookmark – and I had some interesting talks, met new readers and generally enjoyed the whole experience. It is so heartening to see an Independent bookshop flourishing. There was a constant stream of people, all ages from pensioners to babies in chairs. A good number of children who were as happy and excited as if they were in a toy shop. I remember my parents taking us to the “big” bookshop in Chelmsford when I was a child. Every birthday and Christmas we had book tokens and the Saturday after was book day. I thought that had passed away along with 80s hair styles and space hoppers but it is alive and well in Cleveland. So, so encouraging!

A special thanks to all the staff who were helpful, welcoming and willing to have me back. yes please. Hello and thank you to some of the people who took the time to stop, chat and even buy a book – John, Suzan, Ron, Charlie, Jill, Jenny, Jasmine (and her sister who would rather be a vet than a writer), Gareth, Janet, Wendy, Pamela and Lynda. Lovely to meet you all and I hope you enjoy the books – please let me know.