Sunday November 15th – Day 11


An uncomfortable day. I had been going to say ‘tough’ and had to rethink. Tough is for intensive care, for the patients and the doctors and nurses, not sitting at a desk in the warm, knowing that you can get up and go make yourself a cup of tea whenever the mood takes you.

Cleared the 20,000 word aggregate this afternoon, so I’m far from unhappy. The number of words written per day is how many first-time writers gauge their progress and maintain their output, a mechanism for both motivation and goal achievement; like putting in the miles when training for a big run, it’s got to be done or there’s no point in getting to the starting line and no hope of getting to the finish. All writers have their own path to completion as much as they have their own ways of motivating themselves. Many years ago, I read an interview with Frederick Forsyth in which he explained how he got the job done. Forsyth completed all his planning, legwork and research (my words, not his) and then locked himself away for as long as it took to write the novel. So, what happens when you get up in the morning and the last thing your corpus et animam meam, your body and soul, wants you to do is sit down at your desk and begin hammering on the anvil.

Thanks to an unpleasant dose of neuralgia, a legacy of intra-cranial surgery 27 years ago, I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, let alone start banging away at the keyboard. That legacy, neuralgia, is closely comparable in pain and discomfort to toothache, only the tooth is acidly sharp and takes up the greater part of your skull, the inside of which rapidly fills with cement. Thought processes take place in a kind of dense fog and the simplest of tasks, like rearranging words into a coherent sentence, can take on the significance of a minor miracle. Ibuprofen works, though not instantly. A walk seemed a good idea until the heavens opened and stayed that way for most of the morning. Getting soaked to get a clear head? Muddled thinking. But then what was I thinking and was I thinking? Are you getting the picture? So, I thought of the patients, the doctors and nurses who couldn’t, and made a cup of tea, sat down at the desk and bribed myself with the carrot of an afternoon on the sofa once, and only once, I’d written those 2,000 words.

The job is done, the afternoon has gone, the evening is come.

Ciao. Until tomorrow.


  • Diary Day

Further Reading

What You Don't Know About Me

Constant Tides

The Wind between Two Worlds

The Truth in Fiction

Ontreto: A Novel of Lipari

Boarding House Reach

Mazzeri: Love and Death in Light and Shadow