To put it simply – duh. I’ve pasted the hell out of the guilt and baggage that’s dragged me down and worn me out for years, I’ve married a superlistener who encourages me to write and buys me a fantastic typewriter and we’ve moved to a house with a goddamn writer’s studio which is big enough to fit the beautiful oak desk we’ve picked up.

And I sit and fuss over and over about a poem which is basically turning on my aspiration of winning prizes and being lauded as some kind of Homer. Except when you read Homer, what do you find? It’s not overwritten. Each word isn’t a starburst and each sentence isn’t a new brainwidening use of language. So what do people love about it? It’s the idea, the themes, the story.

Meanwhile I’m mentally shelving an idea which could really go places because ‘I’m not in that place yet’, and sitting on top of countless other ideas for stuff that would be just terrific fun to write, having spent a bunch of time coming up with a theory that’s so fundamental that when my wife excitedly writes it out for me I put it aside as ‘too easy’.

If I thought confronting my issues was the trigger-switch to opening up a flood of writing then I was an idiot. Most people don’t have issues and still don’t get around to doing what they want to do. I’ve been striving and working towards writing despite my issues, not because of them, and now they’re gone that’s great, that’s fine. It’s time for the real fucking work to begin.

I pull back from sharing because I don’t want to compromise my vision or feel influenced, but that stuff isn’t part of me any more so why aren’t I using my perfect reader (ie, Goddess Wife) to take my ideas and writing to a higher level? I know that what my better-half told me last night is true – trying to impress never impresses as much as being impressively yourself, essentially – so why aren’t I listening?

Yeh, lots has been going on. But I’m just turning up, like work, and putting words down to make it look to myself like I’m not just wasting time. But my own time is valuable, our time together is priceless, and I’m really not using it in the best way. I’m not concentrating, I’m not taking care, I’m not working hard enough.

I’ve a misunderstanding about working hard in that I feel I’ve worked hard if I feel tired. No, that’s rubbish. Basically, working hard is a fairly unfamiliar concept to me. Things come easy, things come thick and fast almost without me thinking about them or attempting them, until (aha!) someone asks or expects: “Keep that up, then”.

Do it again, repeat the success. I don’t know how. I do. It’s hard work. I’m lucky in that my first attempts are never that hard work and generally come easy and often leave me facing a promising direction, but that’s the point at which my unfamiliarity with real work hits home and I start making excuses. I start waiting for the work to take care of itself.

If I turn up and put myself in front of a typewriter and put down as many words as I feel I can until I feel tired then the work will be done and the job will be acheived. Except this is exactly why I’ve felt so powerless before, something which now I’ve overcome but to the extent that I’m left without any excuses or alternatives. The fact is – I’m lazy and I don’t try.

Christ what am I doing? I’m sleepwalking into a fog of unfinished superb ideas, underdeveloped exciting prospects, unfulfilled potential. Potential that’s my responsibility to take charge of. Prospects which I’m in control of reaching. Superb ideas which I’ve had and to which I owe myself some bastard effort to make good on. Fuck this, I’ve got to get home, hug my wife, make her dinner and write some shit. Gone.

About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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