I’ve never really considered myself an ‘artist’ until recently. I’m not sure what triggered the introspection – it may have just been during a rather trying spell of self-loathing. Either way, I began to realise that I do in fact live up to several artist stereotypes.
Firstly, I’m very good at procrastination. I can flit around the internet more than Google, and sometimes I just stare out of the window. Sometimes you have to give ideas room to bloom. See? I’m doing it even now. Coming out with creative clap-trap.
I must admit that I’m very lucky. I find it very easy to write and almost never suffer from block – though I can still deflect myself away from work very easily. I’ll just suddenly decide that now is the time to attack the garden. Or fix that not-really-broken problem that has been very slightly bugging me on one of the cars. This isn’t your classic ‘block,’ it’s just sly avoidance that means I rarely sit with a blanking cursor wondering whether I can actually think up some words.
Occasionally, I’ll have to grind a feature out. This is surprisingly difficult in a way that immediately makes me feel quite pathetic. I mean, ‘difficult’ working conditions for a lot of people means physical exertion, or having to sit in a call centre trying to convince angry people that they should listen to you. Or being a nurse. Or a social worker. Or Jeremy Corbyn. My idea of ‘difficult’ means I can’t look at something I’ve written and feel happy about it. I’m unlikely to get much sympathy from workers in the sweatshops of Bangladesh. Or Apple’s factories in China.
This can quite easily turn into a major bout of self-loathing, which then starts me back at the start of this blog post once again. I don’t feel like I’m really making an important contribution to society and that just adds to it. This is probably why I’m involved with a community transport group. It’s to try and feel like I’m making some difference to people in an actually-important manner.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of writing is that you rarely get to write about what really interests you. Especially when your motoring tastes are as unusual as mine are. What sells papers is stuff on sporty things generally. This is why you see so many red MGBs, Triumphs and E-Types. Even when it comes to modern classics, you’ll find acres of features on the Peugeot 205 GTi, but very few on the Mardi Gras diesel, or even the nicely-sporty-in-a-not-OTT-way XS.
Most difficult of all is that so little classic car writing involves cars at all. You must love books, and research and sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. If you actually get to drive a nice car, you’ll spend so much time hunting for good locations for photos that you’ll barely get to enjoy the car at all. You’ll be too busy getting angry that the sun is in the wrong place. Or that it is raining. Or that there’s so much traffic that this fantastic car you’re in is just overheating. I once had to drive a Jaguar E-Type V12 around Kidderminster. Kidderminster!
Anyway, all I’m trying to say, in my own pathetic way, is that I occasionally have bad days just like anyone else, and that being a writer is not as easy as some people think it is. I’m just annoyed that all this makes me feel <inverted comma fingers> CREATIVE. Don’t interrupt my flow darling.