Think Like a Writer, Write Like a Thinker. Or something.


A couple of things happened when I decided to ‘stop writing and get a real job’.

One: I got a real job.

Two: I couldn’t stop writing.

Well the truth is the stopping of the writing was not too difficult, I was rarely actually really writing anyway. But could I stop thinking about writing? Not a chance. I came to realise that on that nondescript winter morning last year when I woke from a super cool dream and decided that I needed to write a-whole-bunch-of-creative-shit down (a 90 page screenplay for a sucky romantic comedy to be precise), something changed in me. There was a fundamental shift in the way that my brain functioned and the way I perceived my own experiences. Suddenly, and from then on, everything that went through my mind spoke like a story, a picture book, a movie script, a blog post. My thoughts became a constant state of prose - an affliction that apparently cannot be reversed.

Get a real job? But I am busy...thinking...about writing. Idiot.

Get a real job? But I am busy...thinking...about writing. Idiot.

The good news is that it is a wonderful way to see the world. It is mindful and it is present, it is wondrous and incredulous and curious and fun.

I hear my story-writing commentary whir away as it describes to me what I am feeling, emotionally and sensorily, as I stroke my daughter’s cheek with the back of my forefinger or stare into her eyes trying to watch her amazing brain work as she constructs a masterpiece or solves a problem. I hear a blog post being formed as my son throws hilarious made-up jokes at me (Mum, why is God afraid of Godzilla? Because Godzilla’s name is GOD – zilla! Do you get it mum? GODzilla!) or says the funniest, sweetest things a little man could ever say, whispering in my ear in the quietest voice with the tiniest lisp (‘Mum, you know how you think you are so funny? Well I think you are funny too…and I hope you always have sweet dreams.’).

Did you hear the one about God being scared of Godzilla? Yeah, well, he should be!

Did you hear the one about God being scared of Godzilla? Yeah, well, he should be!

Then at least once a week some obscure thing that asked to be noticed, or some totally mundane thing that should have always been noticed, will spark a thought that will spark a story that will spark an explosion in my mind. A plot for a novel will start bubbling and brewing in the imagination and give me something intriguing and inspiring to think and dream about as I cook the sausages, or listen to the kids’ crappy modern pop music, or fall asleep at night.

With my brain in pretend-writing mode I can feel the joy of the mind’s imagination as well as catch the truth in the tiny moments happening around me. And in a very dark year with very harsh realities, it may have even saved me.

So, as for this decision to stop writing and get a real job? It’s clearly not going to happen. Oh, wait, no, it is happening, I got the real job. The contract has already started in fact. And it is a great job that I am looking forward to getting my teeth into. But as it turns out I won’t stop writing, well at least I won’t stop thinking about it. And I can even still feel the little light of hope that one day I might be writing, actually really writing, and that is my real job.

*I just want to add my thanks to everyone who got hold of me when I mentioned I was calling it quits on the writing and gave me an amazing list of reasons why I shouldn't. It was overwhelming, unexpected and incredibly appreciated. And it made me write all this stuff about what I was thinking...about writing...about thinking...o dear, please don't eat your words...

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