from Bristol

I really like writing, I always have.
But, I have always struggled with the same things. Probably lots of people struggle with them. They are annoying and get in the way and stop me getting better as a writer.

1. Subject.

What to write about? Why now? For who? Sometimes I think of something that I could write about, but decide that no one will be interested in reading about it, or that once I’ve written my opening paragraph I will have nothing else to say. I worry about always writing about the same things, or in the same style, and this becoming boring for anyone who might read it. This has become more of an issue since leaving full time education where people usually told me what to write about.

2. Finishing.
I’m not very good at finishing things unless I have to. It’s not because I don’t want to, I do, but something blocks me and the amount of unfinished pieces of writing saved on my computer is becoming embarrassing more than anything. It’s a kind of weight that I have – unmoving, forgotten-about text that just sits there. Unsurprisingly, this was also less of a problem when I had the strict deadlines of school or university life. Whilst I always had to run across campus to hand in at 5pm (4.53, 4.56, 4.59), I always got there. Now no one tells me when to stop, hurriedly write the conclusion, hand it in or launch it into the world and my self-imposed deadlines never feel quite as rigid as the threat of failing a degree did. So I keep not finishing.


In light of this, next week I will begin Fortnight Writing, a new and ridiculously simple project that I hope will make me write more stuff, more varied stuff, more good stuff, more bad stuff, more different stuff, whilst putting these two aspects in other people’s hands. It’s a kind of ‘back-to-school’ deal, except – thankfully – I don’t have to go back to school, and I get to choose my own teachers. And they don’t get to give me a grade. So not really a lot like going back to school, but you get the idea. 

It works like this. I ask someone to choose a subject, which they must email to me on a chosen day (the first will arrive on Monday 6th August). It can be anything but it cannot deliberately dictate the kind of writing I will do. For example, instead of 'An analytical essay on the performance practices of the Wooster Group' the subject would be plainly 'The Wooster Group’. I then have two weeks exactly from the date and time that I receive the subject to complete a piece of writing in any style I wish, and email it back to the original subject-giver. There is no word limit, and there are no rules on how I choose to interpret the subject. I must, however, write under that title, and I must complete a piece of writing for every subject, even if I don’t want to.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. There’s not a lot in it for anyone apart from myself, but hopefully there will be some interesting or entertaining by-products that you may or may not wish to read. You can, I will put them all here on this blog and there will be nothing I can do to stop you.

I will choose my ‘subject-givers’ from a broad range of people that I know and possibly some that I don’t know, who I think will give me something interesting or challenging to write about. Whilst their role is in many ways quite small, I hope that they will relish the opportunity to have something written about a subject that they perhaps have always wanted to read about, or if not, at least enjoy the opportunity to propose something really difficult to me.


First piece will be posted on Monday 19th of August. In the meantime, to prove that I have always loved to write, here is a poem called 'One way wrong way' that I wrote when I was ten (it's probably still the best poem I've ever written). Note the very deliberate choice of Tuesday.