Yesterday I took out the old manuscript of my novel and promptly deleted the last 20,000 words of it.
I can safely say it was one of the most liberating things I have ever done. My mind and imagination suddenly feel entirely free again; as though I can return to the story at hand and enjoy it once more.
The truth is, in the last couple of years thinking and making some effort to commit this work to paper, I have realised a fundamental truth: I do not know how to write. Not the imagination part of it, that I am able to do without too much effort. But, I mean, who isn’t able to sit down and imagine a story? That is not the part of novel writing which requires so much work and effort. It is commiting the story to paper with all its complications and nuances; in choosing the best language possible to commit conversation and feeling and imagination.
I realised that all my writing had been geared towards online journalism, with the blocky paragraphs that you see on this page. I realised that I did not know the rules and formatting for the far more elegant and classical style of novel writing. I did not know hwo to proberly pen the nuances of dialogue or how to engage in proper flow of language. But I am learning. Truth be told I did not even know how to type properly. The process has been an education if nothing else.
In truth I feel so much fear at the moment. I fear that I am not a great writer, not even a moderately passable one. I fear returning to London tomorrow. I fear the meeting on Wednesday which will decide the direction of my future, one way or the other. I hope they make me an offer and I fear that they will do very that.
I fear the pressures which will come with it and that I will not be up to the challenge. The truth is I do not yet want to return to London. But nor do I want to stay here at home, with parents who refuse to event attempt to understand my position or my feelings on such matters. I do not know what it is that I should do. Nor even what it is I particularly want to do. Staying here in the rurals of Scotland is not an option, not really, but it is so wonderfully safe. All the dramas and pains of London seem so far away. I can sleep soundly every night without the sounds of our ape-like neighbours next door. I do not have to put up with housemates rattling around the place and my time is my own.
The thought of returning, in truth, fills me with saddness. I am not ready.
But I have to. In a world in which I feel as though I have fewer and fewer control over anything, this is simply yet another unwelcome expectation.