I’ve been meaning to write about cars and driving, much as I’ve been meaning to blog about my emerging political questions and thoughts, much as I’ve a number of other thought-blips to post about, much as a hundred thousand others.

Okay, great start. Today has been a cynical start, and this is no different. I need to shake off. I had been wondering recently whether I needed to keep this up at all anymore, given that I’ve posted a few other non-journal things. As if that was solving anything.

Right, again. Shake off. Jottify, which I mentioned before, and Unbound – another newmedia publishing idea – have put the pressure on. Me and my wife often debate why I’m writing (Me: To be famous? Her: To be yourself!), what I’m writing for (Me: Money? Her: The Quest!), and how I’ll turn my writing into a real-world book (Me: Fingers crossed I get noticed? Her: We’ll do it ourselves!).

I recoil from the idea of vanity-publishing, curling up my lip at the prospect of having to spend our own money in order to have a finished product. This angers her. Because, really, I’m recoiling from the idea that what I might produce has a value, a worth, which would be deserved in being supported by us, invested in by us.

And yet I look to invest my time in finishing the writing, time which I could spend doing many, many other things. But as rewarding as any of those other things might be, they wouldn’t be writing. So I would, eventually – though it might take years, decades, the greater part of my life – be unable to deny the fact I needed to write.

So was the problem always in investing in myself? This is something I had thought (and I’m sure my wife thought) I’d passed. Except, like an ever-onion in which layers reveal other layers which, so on etc, I’ve discovered another investment I struggle to even comprehend making. Time, I have overcome. Money only binds me back.

That said, I have a talent for phantom baggage, for daubing issues onto a clean canvas. Money, even, isn’t my baggage, my issue. It’s an inherited panic, a sadly imprinted worry I’ve taken on from my surroudings and those who fill them. My mother told me I ought to be prepared to starve if I wanted to be a writer. I’m not denying that in me is more than a grain of money-worries. But I know I could ignore them without the external pressure increasing this built-in concern.

This is my weakness. I need external forces, or at least I have reached and yearned for them for as long as I can remember. I’ve been through at length the fact that I, before, had never asked ‘Why?’ of myself, unless it was to ask ‘Why am I like this?’. Not ‘What do I think and why?’. I never had time. I was too busy fretting that I was broken and needed to be fixed.

And, in needing to be fixed, I assumed I needed someone to fix me. The process of discovering that I was the only one who could do that has filled this blog already, but I still forget or neglect to think or remember when I reach an obstacle, a new obstacle that I’m not familiar with. But in fixing things, I’m only ever going to meet new and unfamiliar obstacles. More cycles.

It’s disappointing that I don’t manage to be so self-aware when I first meet these fresh obstacles, because self-awareness is the only tool I have to fix anything, but too often my  first reaction to anything new and challenging is insecurity – I need to pad around it, like a restless cat, and any interruption or ‘pushing’ makes me lash out, defensive.

Am I trying to write now, or just trying to find out? The pressure I feel from Jottify and Unbound, from my wife’s boundless optimism and belief that self-publishing is a given not a question, is that now I have the capacity for self-imposed deadlines. There are themes out there right now that I want to take part in. Books and films and discussions which would complement my own work. I have to get on, and get finished.

Can I stick to my own deadlines? Does it really matter? I’ve just noticed, though I’m not sure if it’s unique to my blog (egoegoego!) that at the foot of the beautiful full-screen WordPress editing window it says two words, two words which got this blog started in the first place. Two words which I ought to stick on the walls of my studio. Just write.


About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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