A good idea is insistent, it just keeps knocking on the door.
Graham Linehan, co writer of Father Ted
I stuck my iPod on at random the other day and was surprised to find I was listening to a podcast I didn’t even remember downloading. It was called Chain Reaction and featured Graham Linehan interviewing Adam Buxton. Now I was a massive fan of the Adam and Joe show on BBC radio. I used to listen when driving long distances for work and sometimes it made me laugh so much I would have to pull over. You can probably still get the podcasts if you want to give it a try.
Anyway I left it on because it sounded funny, which it was, but as I listened I realised that a lot of the discussion centred around the creative process and difficulties associated with writing. As well as the quote above, which just struck a bell in my head, was the following, Graham Linehan again:
Writing a first draft is basically where you have to … make contact with the incredibly mediocre person that you are. You basically write something and it’s not as good as the worst thing on television and then you rewrite it and it gets a little bit better, and you rewrite it and it gets a little bit better and stuff like that, so you have to be able to be a bad writer before you go on to make stuff really good.
His point was that writing something, anything, is the hardest part. After that it just gets easier. On the one hand I find thIs very encouraging. It means that even if what I write isn’t very good, it is still worth doing, as long as I tenaciously try to improve it. On the other hand having spent nearly two and half years writing a book that I have yet to finish (although I’m nearly there) it is slightly dismaying to consider the amount of work still to do.
And then there’s all the other writing, the stories I’ve started, the planned sequel, the book I started seventeen years ago and never finished (lost and then found in the attic), not to mention things that haven’t got out of my head and onto the page yet. Like the man said, good ideas are insistent, they just keep knocking on the door.