Had a realisation last month that I’ll probably never write a novel. Small thing that, obviously, but as someone who defines themselves as a writer it came with a bit of baggage. Ultimately it was liberating. Made me think well of some of the things I’ve done outside of work over the last few years.
Loads of the things I’ve written are short-form projects, limited in form by some dimension (time, frequency, length of notebook, etc). I’d always thought of them as exercises, but I’m starting to realise that they are the thing/my practice. Like, threesixfivestart was a good and valuable thing in and of itself, not just a rehearsal.
Late last year, projects like Small Observation, Away for a Walk and A Barrow by a Beacon continued very much in that trend. I’ve found those really positive. I’ve also loved working as a conspirator on things like Study Group and Rockall.
Think I want to formalise that rhythm a bit. A six-monthly cycle. Something as me, something as part of a team.
I’m going to Japan next week and I think part of what’s ticking over in my head is what this looks like as a deliberate exploration. Linking the collective projects and the individual ones. I think it’ll help do two things:
- Make my creative workload manageable, so I don’t feel overburdened – I’ve run out of steam on Away for a Walk and I had to leave Kieron to it on Hipsterhammer
- Bump my self-confidence a bit – I suffered a hard creative slump after Paper Science finished that I lacked the self-confidence (and, to be fair to myself, support) to get out of
Likeisay, I’ve worked a lot within little patterns or limitations. It might be worth trying to lean into that for a couple of years and see where that goes.