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I've taken a peek at just some of the new year resolutions for writers that abound on the internet, notably expressed in writing blogs. I do the same every year, and every year I resolve to: write more, make time for writing; clear a writing space; submit work to publication or competition etc, etc. etc. I even go so far as to write these down at the front of my diary or on a wall calendar as if giving them a visual presence will make them more real.
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These writers' resolutions are added to the usual list of eat healthily, get more exercise, lose my temper less often, get a new job - you know, the usual "new year new start" stuff. And then they get abandoned just as quickly. A bit like the "get your bikini body back" resolution, which I think I write down annually as a matter of habit or just for a laugh - hell, I haven't had one of those since I was 19!
So without a plan, without a set of specific goals that can be measured against achievements, how on earth can I possibly develop as a writer? Am I flying in the face of all the wisdom expounded vociferously by all the millions of bloggers on the internet?
Shortly before Christmas, I was interviewed by The Gibraltar Chronicle when they wrote up a review of my book of poems "Of Love and Shadows". I enjoy waxing lyrical about my work - it is what I know best, after all. But I was stumped right at the start of the interview.
"Why do you write?" came the question. I babbled an answer which made little sense and probably was not right. I don't know why I write. I just have to. I wonder whether it might be some form of ego trip, some way of saying "hey, listen to me, I have something important to say" in which case it would be a voice lost in the wilderness, because there are millions of people doing the same.
I have been making up stories for years, since I was a little girl. As a teenager i wrote my angst-ridden poems during my O-level exams (Latin.s translations of the Aeneid just could not grip my attention!). As a working parent, I wrote in the dead hours of the night in between nappy changes and breast feeding. Okay, so much of it is unpublishable drivel, but I have to do it. I find myself short-tempered and irritable if I don't.
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George Orwell said, "Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand."
That goes some way to describe that feeling. Perhaps artists feel the same way about their painting or sculpture. My grandmother was a seamstress. Show her a bit of cloth and she'd make something out of it. She couldn't stop herself. A similar trait - although possibly more useful than mine.
Which leads me to conclude that this year, this 2016 which has not got off to the happiest of starts (Alan Rickman and David Bowie in one week is a huge blow to the creative world), is the year that I stop fretting about what and when and where work is published, and just write. Just for the hell of it. Just because I love it. And just because I can.
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