I recently began a course with one of the most famed writers in the world teaching creative writing. I already know things, having studied creative writing years ago, however at the time I had zero confidence in my abilities. So I languished for a while in a corpo doing finance admin after my degree – silly. Then in the ensuing years, I worked for over a decade as an editor and writer. This has given me some idea about what I am doing.
Writing commercially for money requires no guts at all, in fact it’s a fakers job, a completely insulated and protected way to exist and to pretend you’re doing something creative, when really you are just feeding yourself and writing about things you couldn’t really give a shit about. Fuck that, I’m tired of it.
Still, creative writing takes flow and also guts to put yourself out there. I thought for a while I would simply have to pillage and plunder my (at times) very intense and unusual life for that epic story. However, it seems that under the tutelage of this famous writer’s training, I can now find more ideas for weird stories that I could shake a stick at.
So it turns out, the ideas for a novel are all out there in the far reaches of space, or rather in here, somewhere in the shadows of your and my subconscious waiting to emerge.
Although stories (or even novel-length) ideas emerge like a raw, bloody and pulpy kangaroo baby crawling and clinging on for dear life to its mother in the pouch. It’s hoped that through polishing, feeding and plenty of TLC, what emerges out of that pouch in a few months will be a fully formed baby kangaroo. A rather appropriate metaphor given that I’m writing this from Australia.
In my case it may be a monstrous and horrifying monster, but even if that is the case…it’s hopefully going to be an interesting monster. And if you don’t polish, grow and nurture it, at best it will be a tiny weak and unformed thing that will most certainly die without your loving attention. I can only write and continue to feed the weird little tamagotchi. Also sometimes the most merciful thing to do is to kill the monster if it’s too awful and you can’t stand listening to it or nurturing it any longer. Sometimes that’s even more important to remember than keeping it on life support. Of course, an impartial and brutal advisor with a red pen should be able to tell you when a monster just isn’t worth keeping around. Kill your darlings. Or chop them up and put them in the freezer for further adventures.