Just write….

In the end, if you want to write, you have to just, well, write. When the early morning urge to hurry breakfast in order to attack an empty page has long departed, it is an agonising process reawakening that determination to winnow out from the recesses of the mind a pithy phrase or an original idea.

I need to take a backwards step. In many ways, my writing was linked inextricably to my love of climbing. That obsession spawned both a desire to write love poems to it but also created a smidgen of ambition. I wanted to be published, I wanted to entertain those who did what I did, who strove to overcome the physical and mental challenges that had become central to my existence.

So when climbing became a monkey on my back, no longer a burgeoning joy, just a burden, I wonder if that led to my writing zeal being extinguished. For years I refused to use the phrase ‘writers block’. I insisted I was merely taking a break, that the termite in my brain that tickles the relevant synapses was just taking a well-earned holiday.

But maybe I misunderstood writers block. When you’ve written for fun for years and then it transmutes into a duty, the thing that drove you on, the visceral excitement of writing a good line, becomes subsumed into deadlines and trying not to recycle. I certainly became aware that I was rehashing old stuff, failing on occasion to achieve a new angle.

And then it all stopped. My mind simply dealt with writing as it had, eventually, with climbing. It was a chore, so why do it.

It’s not as if I didn’t write in the last few years. I produced the odd article for websites, even started to re-examine old stories that had run into the mire. But it always felt alien. I didn’t feel connected to what I produced. It was workaday stuff, benign but boring.

And then the inevitable happened. Another obsession, one that I’ve had for even longer, stuck its hand up and said, “Oi, what about me?” The natural world has always been a constant joy for me. As it has become ever more threatened, my feelings about it have veered from seething anger to moments of optimism. And yet I’ve seldom written about it. How strange.

And now it has planted a seed and I just have to knuckle down and write. The fledgling ideas are in the nest and I’m preparing to let them fly. Sorry, couldn’t resist….