‘Ripley! You blew the trans-axle, you’re just grinding metal!’

Why yes, Corporal Hicks, you’re right.

Unlike some of my friends, I cannot force my brain to write all the time. A really important realisation for me in the last couple of years is that I’m not a machine – even if I have a detailed plot outline I can’t just keep writing when there’s nothing left in the creativity well. Everyone is different – some writers can and do keep writing.

I’m not one of them. I recognise when the brain-bowl is empty. And I also know from long experience that anything I produce at this stage will have the colour and consistency of an unpleasant brown substance.

So I give myself a day off – doing the mental equivalent of this. Today is that day. I will read Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and play Skyrim’s new Dragonborn DLC. I’ll go and get some groceries. This evening I will finish writing the course I’m giving on Saturday.

And tomorrow, I will be able to do my job again.

And I’ll be back to this.


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