Writers come up with all sorts of excuses for not finishing their books. I don’t blame them, really. Writing is very hard work.
I came up with some excuses of my own last month. I had to concentrate on moving house. I was ill. The weather was too cold. I needed to spend more time learning Chinese. There are too many books anyway.
You might think the cold weather excuse was a bit flimsy. But my usual writing seat is a marble slab in an unheated passage under the railway and I go there because it’s the only quiet spot near my office, so the long spell of sub zero temperatures did give me a slight problem. I suppose I could have brought in a furry cushion. I managed to go to a warm café on some days but most of the time I couldn’t get a seat anywhere and wasted a lot of time wandering around from café to café.
My work was also very busy and since my employer had a fit of generosity and offered to buy me as many Chinese lessons as I could do in a year, I thought I’d better take advantage of the opportunity and try to give value for money by spending more time at work as well as on my Chinese.
Yesterday there was a storm and my bedroom walls became alarmingly damp. All the more reason to concentrate on moving house. But at least I still have a house.
And I can’t complain about spending more time with my Chinese teacher. Last week she was in a very good mood because the weather had warmed up a little. When she took off her long black coat I was surprised to see she was wearing a pair of red hotpants.
She is a great motivator.
“I love your stories,” she is fond of telling me. She means my stories in Chinese. “You should write more.”
I haven’t told her I’m writing a novel. It’s better not to tell people, I’ve found. It’s better to just do it. Well, now the temperatures are above zero again, I have no excuse. And writing in English is a lot easier than writing in Chinese. I rarely even need to think about those great shorts.