Novel idea

I don’t know if your mid-twenties are the correct time to have a mid-life crisis. Perhaps it’s a mid-mid-life crisis. Or a half-life crisis. Or similar.

Actually, the current half-life crisis isn’t even a crisis, it’s more than rather dangerous feeling that slowly creeps up upon you that, while everything is peachy in general, perhaps it may be time to do something serious with your life.

The serious non-crisis disease can manifest itself in various ways but, almost inevitably, starts off by attempting to grow a beard (there may be an equivalent for women, I’m not sure. I doubt it’s the same though) before heading of to Africa to treat starving orphans, inventing a prototype to be torn apart by Duncan Bannatyne on Dragon’s Den, or writing a book.

You know where this is heading, don’t you?

I’ve not shaved for a week and already am starting to wonder if a beard may suit me. I do worry about this because the beard heads in a different direction to my hair colour and goes ginger. Woe.

But the beard means I’m serious, it signifies I mean business, it is the first stage in sitting down at your Macbook, latte in hand, and shouting to yourself “I. Am. A Writaaaaahhhh.”

Christ. Shoot me now.

I have problems with writing though, an admission that probably won’t come as a surprise to this blog’s regular 17 readers. On and off over the years, I’ve sat down at my computer (non-Macbook, of course. I couldn’t afford one back then) and attempted to bash out my literary masterpiece. And invariably failing.

There was the dystopian surveillance-society story that was built up with an epic opening before being abandoned on the grounds that 1) I didn’t have a clue where it was going and 2) Dan Brown would have dismissed it as being a bit too lowbrow.

Then there was my attempt at ladlit, centred around a group of male friends who come together each week for the pub quiz. That was also abandoned after re-reading concluded that the first chapter wasn’t bad but from there on in it was, well, shit. Then my computer died and I hadn’t backed it up, and it was all lost, which was probably just as well anyway.

Last year, I decided I wanted to have another stab at writing a novel, but was desperately short on inspiration, so headed down the pub with a few friends to throw around ideas.

I woke up the next morning with a raging hangover and just the one idea in my notebook: “Hero dumped by girlfriend after having sex with goat.”

Original, it may have been. As a grounding for an epic literary work, it was on slightly shakier ground.

My main problem with story-writing is an complete inability to think things through. There’s usually a great idea followed by a well-crafted intro and opening chapter and then a variety of failures. The most common is working out the ending and having no idea how to get to the ending, often followed by writing three chapters of complete shite, realising they make no sense and leaving it vowing to return in a week or two before hitting the delete key three years later.

Then there’s adding to it. I may be disciplined enough to write on this blog on a regular basis, but that’s because I’m dancing from topic to topic, preforming distinctly average analysis on each (does that qualify me for a newspaper column? Can I have one, PLEASE?). Sit now down to work out something that’s completely a construct of my own imagination that’s meant to hold together over 200 plus pages and it becomes a little more problematic, especially if the following are also occurring:

  1. Football on TV
  2. Live football
  3. Friends texting me to invite me down the pub
  4. It’s sunny outside
  5. There’s something good on TV
  6. I’m hungry

That is by no means an exhaustive list.

But, I think I may have discovered a way to change tack. Since starting my regular Soccerlens column, I’ve discovered I quite enjoy researching things that happen in real life. Generally, there’s some construct of a beginning, middle and end, which means my brain doesn’t have to start hurting as I work out how to get the protagonist from splitting up with his girlfriend to finding redemption in Peru. In fact, there’s not even any girlfriend-splitting up and certainly no mention of Peru in anything I’ve written so far.

Similarly, there are a few posts on here, and others in drafts, that I’ve actually put a bit of research into (although whether it shows is doubtful) and, best of all, I get to put my own ill-informed opinions in there, which can always pump up the word count without actually saying anything of any substance. That’s something I excel in.

So, it’s become clear. If I’m going to write a book it needs to be non-fiction. If I was being really clever and wanted to make lost of money I’d call it something like How Doughnuts Can Change Your Life, or maybe Hypnotise Yourself Into Good Grammar, but I don’t know enough about either changing my life or hypnosis.

So, regrettably, or otherwise, I may have to stick to what I know. Which is largely media, social media, non-league football and a few other odds and sods. And I’m lacking inspiration. A bit. So, if you’ve got any suggestions for the next topic I can fail to write a book about, please let me know, otherwise I may end up writing it on people who get dumped by their partners after having sex with goats.


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June 2008
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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

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