We’re all aware that in 2020, it’s easier than ever to be distracted. Our phones want to eat our time. Twitter wants to suck out your soul 240 characters at a time. News apps want to implant the world’s misery into your brain.
There are more and more platforms and media competing for our attention. More books and films and games than ever before.
As a writer, it’s easier than ever to become distracted. I don’t necessarily mean distracted from the writing, I mean more distracted by the writing. Distracted by ideas and characters and scenes that come along for other things.
I recently met up with David Jackson, crime writer. I hadn’t previously met him but after a quick chat on Twitter (see, I love it really) we met up for coffee and cake. Dave is a great guy and I’m getting onto reading his stuff. But in the process of giving me a rundown of his career, he imparted an important lesson which I’m going to paraphrase: –
Find something you like writing the best, and stick with it.
At the moment, I’m writing like a kid in a sweet shop. Grabbing a bit of crime, horror, football, social commentary and comedy. I enjoy a wide range of things and I’m trying them all on for size. Much like what I read, I want to write EVERYTHING.
All of these things are more than a fad for me right now. They’re things I love and enjoy and am basically obsessed with.
But Dave is right, if I want a career in the writing business and if I want to build a strong, loyal readership, then I need to pick something and excel at it.
And that’s the plan. Right now, I’m finding my groove, finding my voice and having a hell of a lot of fun finding out what kind of writer I am. But this third novel is clicking with me, something has evolved in the way I write. It’s different. It’s still me, but perhaps a side that hasn’t come out before. It’s not a tentative feeling. I’m coming to the page ready and the words flow naturally. It’s an unusual but incredible feeling.
I’m having fun and I think (hope) that this new work is falling that niche I can call my own.