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Journal archives: August

May 04, 2004

What next book?

I've had some correspondence recently on the lines of "you don't seem to be writing much, these days". There is some truth in this, as the lack of entries to this journal demonstrate. Thinking about it though, I've actually written a fair bit of late, it's just that most of it hasn't been thrust into the public domain. Hang on, that's not quite true, tho'. I've spent a fair amount of time on a couple of magically-oriented web-boards, and have been playing around with wikis like Sourceryforge of late too. That counts. Somehow though, writing an article for a static website isn't the same as writing for a magazine, and I think it's significant that I started doing most of the writing I did when the d.i.y DTP boom hit and suddenly there was loads of little occult 'zines flying around (some of whom had the life expectancy of a chocolate fireguard). One of the reasons I started writing in the first place was that I wanted to get some of the mags that were coming out on a regular basis but was too poor/cheap to subscribe to them, so I started writing for them instead.
I have this (probably largely erroneous) mental picture that I used to sit down and dash off a few thousand words without any bother. These days, I am much more likely to do some research before committing myself to print. The trouble with research is that an interesting snippet often comes along with more interesting snippets in tow and pretty soon what started off as an idea for a couple of thousand words on say, tantric body symbolism, is looking like more like twenty thousand, and the realisation dawns that this is probably going to take me a while to finish it. A few weeks back, I started doing some writing and, hours later, realised I'd written about 3,000 of 'background' and was still nowhere near the main thrust of the piece. Still, there might be the odd good sentence in there. It's a way of working out ideas, if nothing else.
The other comment that comes up from time to time is "What's your next book gonna be about?" To which I generally reply, "What next book?" I don't feel any great impetus to churn out books, though I will admit to the odd twinge of jealousy when I meet one of my academic friends and they're working on yet another book - "God, how many's that now? Five? Bloody hell." It seems like all they do is write books, though I know they have to teach the odd class, or do some fieldwork inbetween. Of course, like many people, I used to fantasise about just being able to write all day (whilst being comfortably well-off, of course) but now I suspect I'd find it tedious. Oh well, back to Unreal Tournament.