I went into Hell yesterday, or as some of you would know it, Westfield. I’m not a natural shopper, I hate browsing with no money to spend but I had to go and collect a necklace for my son to give his girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. So whilst there, faced with a multitude of people scurrying back and forth, stopping dead in front of me with no warning, banging me with their bags and generally getting on my tits, I decided to take a timeout in my local branch of Paperchase and buy myself yet another notebook.
Rows and rows of notebooks stared back at me. London Underground Map covers seem to be the latest craze, or pastel owls. I thumbed and opened maybe a hundred books. A5, A4, A6. Cream pages and white pages. Lined, unlined, dark ruled, wide ruled, narrow ruled. Not one book was “the one”. Why does it have to be “the one”? Well, it needs to inspire me. I mean, it’s all about the book right? Every book had something wrong with it, but surely I just needed paper to write on, so the cover shouldn’t matter? I began to ask myself why I couldn’t find the right book. I don’t like white pages as they glare too much at me when they are blank. I therefore find it reasonable to only want cream pages. But the rest, such as the cover being too spotty, too embellished, too leathery, too new (!) makes no sense to me at all.
And then it hit me. I don’t know what inspires me. Shit, that’s scary. Someone who writes, who has no inspiration. No muse. So, still standing in Paperchase, I had to ask myself “Do you really want to write?”
Thankfully, the answer was yes. A resounding yes. But I still hadn’t bought a new notebook (which I don’t even need as I have about twenty unused notebooks at home). Then I started thinking about failing, how I am going to fail, and how I am going to cope when nobody wants to publish my book. And all the reasons why I fear failure came flooding in, but I will save them for another blog post on another day.
Where then, is my inspiration? When I thought about why I want to write, and what I want to write, I realised it is quite simple, really. It’s Life. My life, your life, their lives. Every single person on this planet has a history, and I like stories, real life stories.
My unfinished novel is just that, a story based on a real life. And, once I realised it doesn’t matter what it’s written on or in, I bought a notebook. Actually, three.
Well I was in there an hour!