They say blogging is dead. They said that fifteen years ago. But people still blog and people still read blogs. Blogging is all about expressing yourself, expecting nothing in return.
If another asked me today if they should start to blog, I’d say, “Why not?” If that’s the medium they felt most comfortable expressing themselves through, I’d say go ahead. Join the club. I’ll read it too.
I confess: I am often alarmed when people descend to read what I have written. I fear who they are and what their intentions are. Here that inner paranoia: are they foes meaning me harm, or merely wanderers, interested in my thoughts? Leaning towards the former, of course I contemplate taking my website down once more.
Continue reading “Read, if you wish”
The pen is mightier than the sword, say some, and extremists are determined to prove this is true.
Continue reading “The power of words”
All of my novels are works of fiction. They’re not autobiographies. Naturally, all authors have their subconscious to contend with. It’s difficult to avoid sentiments bubbling up from somewhere deep within, feeding into a scene or plot.
Continue reading “Fiction is fiction”
I have on my website a body of writing going back nearly 30 years. I went through a phase about a decade ago of purging almost everything written prior to 2008, but have relented on that and put much of it back (though about 800 drafts remain in limbo, awaiting reconsideration).
Continue reading “Unpurge”
Yes, I unpublished a load of stuff. I do that quite often. But fear not, I’ve put it all back now, apart from whatever my beloved insisted I remove. So it’s all good… until next time.
Continue reading “Lost”
Hmm, perhaps I won’t publish my writing in installments after all. Maybe that’s not the right approach. Perhaps I will share it another way. Email hello at tjbowes dotco dotuk and I’ll send a hard copy, inshallah. Summer reading; no urgency.
The trouble with blogging is that you have no idea who your readers are. This can be both a blessing and a curse. Mostly I take solace and refuge in that anonymity, but every now and then something happens which causes me to pause for thought. No, not so much pause: I will be found scrambling to immediately unpublish everything.
Continue reading “Gone”
A thought occurred to me this evening, driving home, lost in thought: perhaps I should share the draft novel which spilled out of me this winter. Maybe I need to free it, even if it is an incomplete early draft, untouched since February.
Continue reading “A winter’s writing”
Relax, nobody is reading the nonsense I write, except for the devoted few. True, spammers descend en masse whenever I write about writing or relationships, to bestow their likes in the hope I’ll reciprocate. My loyal longterm readers, I fear, I have completely alienated, though one or two inexplicably remain, hopeful that I may one day pen something they find interesting again.
Continue reading “Followers”
I have written a number of books through the years, always momentarily published and then withdrawn. One of them was entitled, To Honour God. That one was only ever intended for my family, to help them come to terms with my journey of faith. Only, by the time I had completed it, I had already grown out of it and felt like flinging it into the bin. At my beloved’s behest, I still published it briefly in paperback form in 2008, but it only lasted a few months in the wild before I removed it from circulation once more.
Continue reading “Books and the bin”
What a strange three months it has been. So much has spewed out of me from somewhere deep within, as if beyond my control. And now, suddenly, a feeling of inner calm and peace, where I no longer feel inclined to revisit all of these thoughts.
Continue reading “Manic splurge”
Don’t follow to be followed. Don’t be an adult pretending to be a kid. Don’t be a man pretending to be a girl. Don’t write what you think will get you noticed. Don’t set out with ulterior motives. Don’t hang out in the hope that others will engage you. Only a fool would fall for the freshly minted account seeking an audience — waving and prodding — before you’ve said anything at all. If you’re for real, your authentic voice will speak volumes. So be real. Be true to yourself. Don’t be fake; fakeness only reveals you.
An observer might legitimately ask how I went from holding old foes in gross contempt to empathising with them, seeing the world from their perspective. For that, I largely credit my writing. In the first novel I ever wrote, I had two sets of characters: the good and the bad. In that first draft, there was no nuance in the world and no attempt to understand the other.
Continue reading “The art of empathy”
I suppose we could consider it some kind of minor trauma, which I have then triggered by returning to writing fiction after a decade-long hiatus. A novel — entirely fictional — has naturally stirred painful memories inside me, and now they are all coming out of me like a puss-filled boil.
Continue reading “Twenty percent”
So often I think to myself that I should cease writing and delete everything I have published. But other times — like today — I wonder why on earth I decided to obliterate so much all those years ago. Diaries I once wrote, I tore to shreds. Creative writing I tossed into the bin. So many projects I bulk deleted.
Continue reading “Words”
Recent writing has helped me make sense of events, past and present. As I engaged with a character this afternoon, a thought occurred to me: if only we had thought to have a conversation. A frank discussion then could have changed everything. I realise now I was the one entirely to blame for conflict years back, but my ignorance blinded me. Now I think I understand. It only took a quarter of a century. Belatedly wise, but alas: only fictional characters now converse.
And now, this is where I delete everything. The man of perpetual regrets will ultimately obliterate everything he momentarily thought to be good. I’ve written a mountain of words lately, but now my heart aches, so I’ve reverted most of it to draft. Sometimes I wonder: why on earth did I start this in the first place? To my ego I say: just disappear. Be gone.
Here is the truth I scarcely dare confess: writing makes me ill.
Continue reading “Fact and fiction collide”
The beauty of blogging, a whole decade after the mass exodus from the blogosphere, is that I can write whatever the hell I feel like, and nobody gives a stuff. Who recalls that I wrote an ode to that a full ten years ago? How time flies!
Continue reading “Still insignificant”
When you’re young, it can be difficult to make sense of the world. When you’re older, you have the benefit of hindsight and maturity. Things that once were painful or troubling can be viewed with different eyes with the passage of time. Grudges we once carried with us disintegrate eventually, as we finally find ourselves able to put ourselves in another’s shoes.
Continue reading “The power of writing”
I realise memories are unreliable. All the more unreliable for the writer of novels, who struggles to separate fact from fiction now, not helped by melancholic bulk-deletions which obliterated every last trace of what I once had written. All I have now are fragments: partial files, providing a limited snapshot of the distant past, most of them indicating that my recollections are incomplete at best.
Continue reading “Fragments”
Sometimes things just don’t work. I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening attempting to revise a chapter my editor had suggested needed more work.
Continue reading “Revisions”
Writing pleases me. It is a longstanding habit.
Continue reading “Introvert writer”
It’s strange that I write in public, for it occurs to me that I’m just not comfortable with global reach. Momentarily I think: “I must promote myself better.” A moment later, I’m telling myself: “No, be content to be unknown.”
Continue reading “Introvert”
No, I’m still not a writer… not yet. I write, yes, but is anything ready? No, definitely not. “Coming soon” is a fiction in itself. Half the time I think I should just put my novel in the bin. The other half, I convince myself to keep on polishing, in the hope that one day it might be good.
Continue reading “Hesitation”
Perhaps my writing is just too subtle, or too obscure. Much as I appreciate the input of an editor, I can’t help wondering whether she’s missed the entire point of my novel. Some of her comments are just perplexing. It’s literally about journeys of faith. It’s the thread running through the entire story. This is why I write as an amateur and intend to self-publish. Commercial publishing cannot comprehend or accommodate stories like these. No, but withhold judgement: she has identified plenty of shortcomings that need to be addressed. Calm down. Carry on.
So, after four months waiting (im)patiently, my novel has returned from my editor. It was a worrying period, wondering what they were doing with my manuscript all this time.
Continue reading “The editor”
I realise I’m not a speaker; I’m a writer. It’s part of the reason my career has so slowly progressed: because I detest the sound of my own voice. My beloved wanted us to start a podcast, but I just can’t do it, for my voice is so boring, stuttery and slow. I cannot do interviews: I cannot preach with my tongue.
Continue reading “Writer”
A decade ago, I was a fan of buffoonish crime drama, Death in Paradise, set on the fictional Caribbean island of Saint Marie. Initially, there was something quite quaint about a stiff-upper-lip British detective being dispatched to a paradise island to investigate a murder. The detective in question was played by actor Ben Miller, and so his character was easily embraced with affection. But, in truth, it was a show that should have died a death long ago.
Continue reading “Dev in paradise”
The first novel I ever wrote was so astoundingly bad that I eventually had to pulp every single draft I had once printed with pride.
Continue reading “Cringefest”
I wonder… is writing causing me hypertension… anxiety… serious stress… an agitated soul?
Continue reading “Side effects”
I don’t know what I’ve done. I commissioned an editor to review the manuscript I spent my holidays and weekends editing throughout 2021. I’ve spent a fortune on it… but now it’s hit me and thrown me against the wall… what was I thinking? Why did I even write that novel? What was I setting out to achieve? What right did I have to tell that story? What did I do it for? Now I’m thinking to myself: I can never publish this. Now I’m saying: I wouldn’t dare. But after spending so much, do I have a choice now? I feel so blue. Reading it through, I just think to myself: “this utter crap”. Really, I just wonder what I’ve done. Publish and be damned.
Whenever I read truly talented authors, I regret setting pen to paper at all. I have spent twenty-five years honing my art, but still I remain a complete amateur. This realisation hits hard whenever I read their fluent prose, its rhythm dancing inside my soul. Reading their magnificent writing, I truly cringe at my own. What I’d give for the brilliance of the writer.
In childhood I was not a writer. I was a daydreamer, certainly, forever composing stories in my head, but I never contemplated writing them down. When asked to write a creative piece in school, I invariably wrote of that quaint subsistence lifestyle I once yearned for. I was frequently castigated by my teachers for penning essays too brief to satisfy their exacting standards. I was too lazy in those days to pen long paragraphs about anything of any worth.
Continue reading “Why write?”
When writing, don’t be afraid to delete a whole chapter and start again when it seems you’ve lost your way. Friday evening’s writing just went in the bin. Saturday night’s writing seems to have got me back on track. Write with a pen and a pair of scissors.
The past few days I have been thinking a lot about two of my as-yet unpublished novels. Though to me these stories are benign, I have begun to feel myself cowed by extremists. By fear of their extremism, to be precise.
Continue reading “To write in fear”
I think I have reconciled myself to being an amateur who writes for pleasure.
Continue reading “The hobbyist author”
Writing is a strange hobby, because you end up with repeated bouts of extreme depression while writing… and then you get an even heavier dose when it’s done, which usually ends with you deleting every word in a fit of melancholic self-censorship. If only I had taken up watercolours instead. I could’ve been a happy man.
I say that I fear fame, but I think that what I really fear is rebuke.
Continue reading “Rebuke”