Mad Dogs and Englishmen

At the risk of sounding like a tabloid headline writer, crickey, it’s hot! Hotter then Hawaii, apparently, here in sunny Norfolk. Which adds a whole new set of complications to the writing experience; the hunt for that bon mot pales into insignificance when compared to the search for a cool place to sit and cogitate. My brain has the thinking capacity of marshmallow and I feel as if I’m melting by degrees, like the wicked witch of the west.

It won’t last, the forecasters tell us, which is a bit of a shame since this has been the wettest, coolest summer hereabouts since people started recording these facts. You guys on the other side of the Atlantic are probably wondering why I’m making such a fuss – it’s only weather. And I agree with you. Still, I look forward to the approach of autumn.

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As if

‘I’d like to write a novel; I just don’t have the time.’ How many times have you heard that one and gnashed your teeth? As if writing a novel is that easy and all you need to perfect the art is the time to do it. Would they say the same to the doctor they meet at a party? ‘Oh, I’ve always wanted to be a heart surgeon, but I just haven’t got the time.’ Sounds ridiculous in that context, doesn’t it? And what about the financial markets?  We’d all be millionaires if we only had the time to play the stock market.

I don’t think so. These aren’t pastimes you pick up on a whim. They are professions that take dedication, practice, and, dare I say it, talent. You’ll never be a concert pianist (as I know to my cost) unless you practice, but more importantly, you’ll never get off the starting blocks without some innate talent.

Writing is the same. It’s a vocation, whether you’re getting paid for it or not. It’s a need.

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