I had a vague plan to write a regular blog while I was in the UK, but alas, time is flying by and it’s one of the many things I have failed to do. I blame the book-writing. Really there is nothing to blame but me.

The book-writing started well. I kept up my 10,000 words a week target until I had written over 90,000 words. That’s the length of an average travel book. Problem is, the story of my Take On Africa, is longer than that. Once I had written what I thought I would need to write, my focus lapsed and I’ve stuggled to stay motivated since.

(oh, for the more interesting things by other people, do feel free to skip to the bottom of the page)

There is this constant nagging feeling, completely self-inflicted of course, that any spare time I have I should be book-writing. So instead of a regular Monday to Friday job, where you leave your work at the office and enjoy a whole two-days of carefree fun, I find myself mentally tied to my writing desk (which is usually the bed or floor by the radiator) every day of the week.

Summer and Winter Desks
Summer and Winter Desks

That would be fine if during that time I was actually writing. (I would have finished the book and have it published by now if that was the case). But there are so many distractions. When I manage to ignore the internet, there are books and my journals to read, coffee to make and drink, and then the infinite exploration into the recesses of my mind. It is far deeper, blacker and absorbing than I realised. I can lose hours in my thoughts. When I do finally put my fingers on the keyboard I am stunted by my inability to recall the best words to describe what I want to write and so I reach for the dictionary and thesaurus. And so it goes.

So I blame the book. I figure, if I am going to actually type anything, then it should be the story I am writing and nothing else. In the end I write nothing.

It has been three and a half months since I started writing this book. It has been my distracted focus the entire time. I have nearly 130,000 words written, some good words, several mediocre. Whether they add up into anything coherent and worthy of publication remains to be seen. I know there is much work to be done once I have the first draft completed. It is turning out to be far harder than cycling to Cape Town. I am reliving the highs and lows from the trip all over again and trying to convey it in words.

Now it is time for a change though. Back to the office, paid work. It will challenge my logical side of the brain rather than the creative one. My plan is to keep writing at the weekends, but we will have to see how that goes.

Ok. If you’re still reading after my self-pitying rant, then here are some other people’s projects and ideas that I have been distracted by recently. Inspiring, imaginative, creative, challenging… well whatever, doesn’t matter. I enjoyed them and thought maybe you would too.

Janapar – Tom Allen’s film and soon to-be book. A story of adventure with a bicycle and love with a beautiful girl.

Dark Ice – Alex Hibbert’s next epic Arctic expedition.

1000 Adventure – Alastair Humphrey’s latest challenge (and one I might take up, depending on how next year shapes up)

Psychovertical – Andy Kirkpatrick’s blog that I recently discovered (I’m a bit slow) and particularly liked his most recent blog, which I hope won’t be his last, if nothing else for this quote that sums up my current writing attempts:

“I know there is a part of my brain that can really write well, it’s surrounded by funky retarded grey matter that clings onto every fucking word as I try and fish it out, meaning the simple act of writing becomes an exhausting tug of war.”