It’s flattering I suppose when people notice … that I have not been blogging much. It is becoming a new year tradition, like stomach upsets, broken resolutions, sacked football managers and tiny FA Cup crowds.
A year ago it was because I was going through a bad bout of depression. This year it was because a two year bout of bad writer’s block (fiction branch) suddenly unplugged and a novel I have been wanting to write for ages came pouring out. We were up in Scotland and I got into a routine of two hours on the bike, then four or five writing, though once I really got into it I was waking in the middle of the night with ideas and lines and twists to the plot, getting up and writing it all down. There are few more wonderful feelings than being in full flow as a house sleeps and daylight starts to fall upon Ben Nevis.
The Highlands scenery was definitely part of the unplugging, even if the novel is mainly set mainly in Highbury and Islington. (Apologies if you live there and have seen a mad cyclist stopping to take photos of your homes in recent days, but finding the right place for key characters to live has been an important part of the post-Scotland creative process)
Anyway the first draft was done more quickly than anything I have ever written, finished in a Lancashire hotel on the eve of Burnley v Leicester, rewritten with a different ending by the time we won away at Sheffield Wednesday, a third and fourth draft have followed, with help from experts and friends, my agent loves it (and he is hard to please sometimes, unless you’re Nigella Lawson) and it is now ready for the publisher to take a look. Nice feeling. It is about alcoholism, by the way.
I barely followed the political scene while I was full on, hence the lack of political comment on twitter and the lack of blogging on here. I did catch coverage of the Cameron-Clegg mid-term thing on Monday and it looked a bit tired and going nowhere. If 2012 was the year the government got found out for its basic lack of direction, competence and delivery, 2013 has to be the year they get really punished for it, and Labour put forward alternative ideas, policies and vision with a clarity and conviction that blows this lot away.
In football parlance (I did stay plugged into sport even if I unplugged from politics) … they are there for the taking. I look forward to commenting and contributing more regularly than I have in recent weeks, in the hope it may help the said taking.