writer’s cramp

It seems like ages since I wrote here – my apologies, regular readers – irregular writing doesn’t help. I have been writing pretty much non-stop for the past few weeks, just not here. Words and time and space are becoming squeezed together in a most unseemly fashion…

I write as part of my job – that uses up quite a few of my available words each day. In addition to this I’ve converted our office manual into a tiddlywiki – not a hideous task but time consuming never-the-less. If you, or your company, desires a wiki manual (or indeed, a more traditional paper-based model), please feel free drop me a note – will write technical content for money. I am particularly interested in the creation of procedures manuals – i.e. specific instructions on how to do stuff.

I’ve also been writing for fun, for me. I’m writing a couple of books, and I have a third busy fermenting in the spare moments. I’ve been finding writing the books a challenge – one has started to take shape quite well and I’m very happy – it’s a kind self-development book based on reflective practice. I don’t know if it will ever see the pale light of day but I’m learning a lot – dare I say it? Reflecting on what I’m doing as I do it. Reflecting on action, while in action. It’s causing me to want to make changes about myself, and that’s not always comfortable – it’s easy to want to make change, it’s easy to make change…for once. Maybe twice. But sustained change so it becomes even beyond an ingrained habit – now that’s a demand that takes an effort. I’m preferring to think about it as a work in progress.

The other book is a work of fiction – and I have to say it could easily make an effort and write itself for once. I work and rework the ideas out in my head and then on to the screen – the results are stella – as in they make you want to reach for a beer. I guess like everything it’s a learnable skill. I’d just for once like to find something useful, valuable, and profitable to do that just flowed for me. Sadly it seems everything extracts a price – a learning curve – and a high tolerance for mediocrity and worse. Urgh! The novel and I are working out on an almost daily basis and in general I’m impressed with my paucity of fiction writing gifts.

I’ve added a few postings over at the Tea Garden, and I’ve gone a little further up the video editing/publishing curve as well. I find the collecting of stories is exceptionally interesting – I’d hoped the video recording would help capture more of the context – and it is good – but the incorporation of stills really enhances the material. And I like the stories people tell about themselves and their responses very much. I want to add more stories as soon as possible.

In the meantime I’ve also been taking myself off to life drawing. Yes, naked people. I’m slightly amazed at how good some of the drawings are – there’s a slight potential for likeness – that ever-elusive prey (from my perspective). I find somehow I can generally capture a reasonable image and magically – I simply don’t know how – suddenly my drawings fit on the page. It used to be that I needed to get tape and more paper because the models were bigger than the paper. Now, it’s nice. Thought: perhaps the models in Wellington are shorter. Or simply more experienced in the art of fitting on a page.

One of my work colleagues looked at my drawing book and asked, ‘Do you sketch the drawings before you put them in the book?’ He was amazed when I told him no, you just draw straight into the book. You get sudden success (or the unmentionable alternative). Nowhere to hide, what you see is what there is. And I suddenly realised that maybe my drawings had worked, he was amazed to think that someone (well, me, more to the point) could just draw the human form in a book. I started to look at my drawings in a new way myself – perhaps they aren’t too bad after all…

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