The Myth Of The Lone Writer
Once upon a time there was a garret, and in it sat a writer scribbling away, only to emerge once every three or four days gaunt and hollow-eyed to eat a few crumbs before returning to his lonely calling.
Not any more.
Thanks to social networking and writers’ groups, we now have busier social lives than Pixie Geldorf (although she probably has more conversations about new shades of nail varnish and other people’s sex lives). Between the conventions, the gatherings, the lunches and dinners it’s amazing any of us get the time to write at all. Yesterday I had lunch with (among others) Jon Courtenay Grimwood, China Mieville and Kim Newman, and everyone said the same thing – there’s not enough time to write after the social obligations (and Kim’s desire to sit through every single horror film ever made).
I haven’t been able to get to the Non-Fiction Writers’ Group for three months because it clashes with other meetings. I do a lot of social networking but that’s mainly because I enjoy it. I’ve giving a talk on Saturday that I haven’t started preparing yet (God knows I’ve had over a year). And even newbie writers seem afflicted with this – fully 50% of the entries to the Campaign For Real Fear arrived in the last 12 hours of the competition! Are we really that busy – it’s not as if publishers are quick to commission anymore – or have we merely stretched out our displacement activities further?
Mieville’s newest novel is a ‘Kraken’ read, BTW…