I kept diaries all the way through secondary school. Sporadically, at first – then obsessively, extensively. I studied essay-heavy subjects at GCSE and A Level, bashing out a casual 500 words on my lunch break, another thousand on the bus while it crawled along the too-narrow roads of my little island home. I had a pen-pal in an age when letter writing was dying, and we sent each other ten-page missives scrawled in blue biro, with glitter scattered between the sheets and special messages to the postman on the envelopes. While we waited for each other’s letters to arrive, we spent each evening typing endlessly back and forth on MSN Messenger (RIP). I wrote for fun, for pleasure, for intellectual stimulation, and (I realise in retrospect) for my own mental health.
And then, ten years ago, I stopped.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why, though there are a number of factors that definitely contributed. I went to university, and shared a room with a brilliant, beautiful girl who (rightly) assumed that I would want to discuss every detail of her and my life at length. When she was off doing the sort of baffling things that shiny, confident people do (lacrosse, anyone?), there were fifteen more of my closest friends living on the same corridor who I could go and hang out with. The diary writing trailed off.
English Literature degrees infamously put people off reading. Mine stopped me writing, too. The friends, the college bar, the supremely great broadband connection, literally hundreds of hours spent illegally streaming American TV from my bed – it was all too easy not to be writing essays. There were assignments I barely got submitted in time, relying on housemates with printers and cars and kind hearts to get me and my just-about-proofread essays to the English department with minutes to spare. My first tweet, from 2008, reads, “Dissertationing and drinking tea”. Patently, only one of those things was true.
Now, I work with words – but other people’s, mostly. I proofread and I edit and I write bits here and there to fill the gaps. But I’ve been realising, recently, that there are some pretty big gaps in me. And I’ve been wondering, could I fill those with writing, too?
Which is all a roundabout and self-indulgent and over-philosophised way of saying: hello. Here is a blog. I think I might try writing it a bit. (I might not, though. I’m a serial quitter. This might be the world’s ninety-billionth one-post blog. Let’s see though, yeah?)