Twice a year I attempt to start a diary: in January (“New Year New Me” bollocks) and in July (just after my birthday hence another opportunity for “New Year New Me” bollocks. Humans are so embarrassing sometimes.) Every attempt to date has failed. There was one period in my life when I managed to keep it up for longer than a week, I was about 14 and I decided that my life and thoughts were super interesting and should be documented for prosperity. I found these profound musings recently and I burnt the entire lot. I’m not exaggerating. I literally kindled a tiny fire in the bathroom sink and watched them disintegrate into oblivion because it turns out that at the age of 14, I was an insufferable piece of shit. Really, I was. And I know most people would say, ‘Oh, that’s totally normal! We’re all a little embarrassed about our choices sometimes.’ Bullshit. I wasn’t ‘a little embarrassed’, I was COMPLETELY MORTIFIED. What if I win the Nobel Prize for being awesome one day and I’m celebrated by all of humanity and then after my death, someone stumbles upon my 14 year old self’s diary and they’re like ‘Hey, take it back. She was a total moron.’ I’m not taking that risk. Having said all this, it doesn’t make much sense that at the start of the year I began two more diaries, one of which I decided to publish on the internet and in the leading greetings magazine for all the world to see. I guess we just have to hope that 15 years on, I’m slightly less of a twat.
Anyway, all was going swimmingly; I could see my writing improving, the subscribers to my blog were increasing and I was feeling pretty damn chuffed. Until... dum dum DUMMMMM... disaster struck! Two weeks ago I wrote a really boring diary entry!!! I realise that this may not rival the sinking of the Titanic in the disaster charts but it has plagued my waking hours ever since. It wasn't even an entry for the blog, it was an entry for my personal diary which no one will ever read whilst I roam the earth and which has been programmed to spontaneously combust into a ball of hell-fire at the precise moment of my demise. So it shouldn't have really mattered. Oh but it did. It has done nothing but matter for the last 14 days straight. It has been sat in the corner of my life mattering away whilst I work, whilst I sleep and whilst I eat (actually, that last one is a lie. Nothing can get between me and a cheese toastie). So why has this one tiny, insignificant, boring diary entry hung over my head like a giant storm cloud ever since it came into existence? Because it means that my luck has run out.
You see, I am a fraud. I'm not a writer at all. I never went on a course, I didn't study it at university, I didn't have a natural 'talent' for it as a child. In fact, quite the opposite. I was told that my writing was unimaginative (which it was) and clearly demonstrated the fact that I didn't read enough (which I didn't). If anyone was to suggest that I have written anything worth reading in the last few years, I would have to explain to them that it was just luck. I just kept putting pen to paper and occasionally words came out in a good order. And when this happened, I showed people. "Look!" I demanded, "Look at the order of these words that I have written. Isn't it good?" And they replied, "Yes, you have put those words into a very good order. You must be a writer!" I was about to correct them but then a sinister voice inside my head said, "Wait. They think you're a writer. You've fooled them! You can't own up now, just nod and smile." (Just to clarify, the voice in my head speaks to me in the second person because it is an entirely separate and unrelated entity and I take no responsibility for its actions). So I nodded and smiled and pretended to be a writer. Every time I had to write something new I was filled with dread because I had absolutely no idea how to do it. But each time I wrote, it turned out a little better than the last and I soon started to believe it myself. Perhaps I am a writer. Perhaps I am controlling the order of these words after all. But then the boring diary entry happened and now I know the game is up and soon everybody will know the truth. So I may as well tell you that I'm not an artist either. Nor am I a filmmaker. I just make things and sometimes when they turn out well, I show you, and when they don't, I burn them in the bathroom sink. And I know that Jack feels exactly the same. And nearly every other creator of things that I know confesses to feeling the same too so I take some comfort from this. Maybe no one feels like a writer or an artist or a filmmaker. Maybe they just keep making stuff knowing full well that there will be hits and misses but if they persist then hopefully the hits will outweigh the misses. Maybe boring diary entries and crappy drawings and frightfully bad films are all part of the process and should be celebrated. After all, if you never get it wrong how will you know when you get it right?