Rules Of Engagement

Being a writer means you have to spend an awful lot of time alone. It’s not all about sitting in bars talking about the books you want to write. You have to spend a lot of time staring at a desk, feeling pretty fucked up, pretty lonely, and getting to know all these people that don’t actually exist – which is madness, of course, but it’s the name of the game.

Irvine Welsh

Before I forget, whatever it is you like to do on a daily basis, you should spare a few moments to read this.

If it's your first time with it, it will shine the brightest light into your eyes. If you've seen it a million times already, a million and one won't do any harm. Here's a sample:

The whole piece is worth repeated viewings and readings, particularly on those days you're not feeling the magic. These sketches are over at Chris Riddell's blog and by jumping backwards and forwards a little, you can find the whole thing. If you don't want to jump back and forth, run a search for 'Neil Gaiman Make Good Art' and it will likely leap into your life in the blink of an eye.

Tonight, I shall begin making plans of places to go in 2017. There will be some return journeys and there will be some new ones too. My return journeys are most definitely New York and Florence (July and November respectively) but aside from that, some new destinations are most definitely on the cards. Top of this list is Mobile in Alabama where, aside from my buddy Sean Herman hanging out there, the tourist board of Mobile run a neat programme were they get writers from around the world to visit and they have 'mentioned my name'. I'm not sure what that programme might entail but they count me in with both feet.

It would be neat to wrap up a book and launch it out there... just because it's a completely ridiculous thing to do, but with a little bit of traction in the US right now, maybe it's not so ridiculous at all. All it would take is a little aligning of the cogs behind the clock face... surely?

Meanwhile, back home, I need to get my game face on here too. There's no shortage of literary festivals but I have no idea how they work... my preferred method of just showing up will probably not be welcome which means it's time to do some research, but maybe a better plan is to head off the beaten track and make a path where there is none.

It's funny what becomes obvious sometimes when you're writing off the cuff. Having just read that to myself again, I have to ask myself: 'What are you trying to achieve'. If I could answer that, what kind of plan I should be working on would no doubt become immediately apparent.

It's my birthday tomorrow and I've been bought something very cool. Cool enough to be added to the list of 12 things I own and increase it to 13 as a permanent addition. I will take photographs...