Writing is easy. As far as I am concerned. Or at least it has been since I passed over to the other side. All I have to have is an idea and off I go. Manifesting myself in the body of my nephew Michael, I just sit him down in front of his computer and the words just flow out. I don’t hold with all this “I can’t think of any ideas” lark either. Everyone’s heads are crammed full of ideas. Aren’t they? They must be having ruddy thoughts otherwise they wouldn’t exist. It’s standard Cartesian philosophy: “I think therefore I am.” Therefore if you don’t think, you’re not. Seeing as you are, you must be thinking. So all you have to do is write down what you are thinking. Don’t worry about waiting for the first thought that comes into your head. You had it ages ago. You are already thinking. Write that down. And away you go.
Clever clogs Michael calls that “Stream of Consciousness.” I don’t care if it’s a stream of pittle. All the best writers agree; write it down, and you can edit it later.
And that’s where the ruddy problem arises. If you get into the habit of relieving yourself of that stream in front of the computer, sitting down and letting it flow once a day for a long period of time, you end up with a right ruddy sackload of writing. And a lot of it will be shite. But within the shite there will be a few golden kernels of sweetcorn. If you are a particularly wise and knowledgeable person like me, there will be quite a few golden kernels of sweetcorn, but even I produce a fair amount of shite just to squeeze those kernels out. Searching for the sweetcorn is quite a task.
When you do finally decide that it is time to edit, you suddenly realise that you have set yourself a bit of a task. I am not saying that I have bitten off more than I can chew. Far from it. I always was a good chewer, ever since I got my National Health dentures in the 1940s. But it is a real chew, with loads of gristle, and one or two bones to pick out if you don’t want them to get stuck in your throat.
(I am so good at them metaphor things me, I hardly ever get them mixed either. With my hand on the steering wheel I can drive any Clapham Omnibus you like all the way down the Grand Union Canal. And you can put that in your pipe and smoke it!)
Any road. My first thought when faced with all that editing was to just let my nephew get on with it. After all, he is the one who is supposed to have gone to university. But I had overlooked one important factor. He is bone idle and the world’s expert at avoiding anything difficult. That’s why he hasn’t got much further than about 1903 over the last five weeks. So it looks like I am going to have to do more than just give him a boot up the back passage. I am going to have to take on some of the work myself. I should have known. If you want a job doing properly, ask a ruddy woman!
So… If there are any writers out there who follow the rule “write it all down and edit it later” and have a few tips and whatnots for the editing process. I would be grateful for the assistance. I will return the favour with a few of my own tips and whatnots for writing shite with extra sweetcorn.