Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Grand Clear Out

It’s late in the month to be talking about NY Resolutions. There’s already been plenty of time for them to be made, broken and forgotten til next year. I could apologise for bringing up the distasteful topic on the 13th of the month, but I won’t because one of my resolutions – many years ago – was never to apologise insincerely.
new year, new resolutions 

This year I’ve resolved to lose weight – this time from my unwieldy monstrous work-in-progress as well as from my unwieldy monstrous body; to practise an hour day on my (beautiful, new, expensive – whoops, what happened to the resolve not to be extravagant?) guitar; to keep my accounts monthly and – to keep my study tidy.

In pursuit of the latter I spent several days having a Grand Clear Out. I had notebooks containing the planning and in some cases the first drafts of every novel I have written – and that means, I’m sorry to say, three more novels than have actually been published. Many notebooks. Pretty notebooks, because they were bought from Paperchase when I was working fulltime and therefore comparatively rich. And I happen, like many writers, to be a stationery geek. I couldn’t possibly destroy them. They were a record of years of hard work and hopes.

Some of these notebooks contain the first drafts of published novels. Some don't. 

Well yes. But they were also taking up space and gathering dust, and of no interest to anyone, not even me. I do have a few MSs that I show at author visits, but I don’t want to hang on to rough outlines of aborted projects. I don’t kid myself that some American library is going to make me an offer for them. I no longer wish to see anyone else’s rough first drafts, discovered and published after death – I used to, before I was published, but now I always feel uncomfortable reading something that the author didn’t intend to make public.

So the notebooks were shredded and left out for recycling. The bin lorry has come and they are no more. I have more space in my study, and am no longer surrounded by the ghosts of the-novels-that-never-were. If I get run down by the recycling lorry and someone has to clear out my house there will be fewer notebooks for them to tackle.

OK, I may have kept one or two. But there’s always next year’s Grand Clear Out.

And on Monday I called into Muji – their notebooks are gorgeous and just that bit cheaper as befits a struggling fulltime writer with a resolution to be less extravagant. I may have stocked up a little. After all, there's plenty of space now. 

lovely new notebook drawer
other brands are available

No comments: