Poor Sources

So I’ve let my blogging momentum slip. This frequently happens and it frustrates me no end. I suppose it’s part of the nature of anything you do as a hobby. I love writing and writing, despite my frequent professions of love seems to have a hot and cold relationship with me.

But of course, it’s easy and weak to blame the thing you love when you fight a flaw in yourself. As I’m not the sort to get stuck in a rut for very long I’ve decided to look inward. And looking at myself I believe I’ve traced the hiccup in my writing productivity: Inspiration.

I’ve blogged about my inspiration several times on this little corner of the internet. And again it’s an easy thing to say and get frustrated when the thought ‘my inspiration’s run dry’ comes a-knocking.

But I came to realise this week (and it’s a sad confession) that I don’t read as much as I used to. I used to read every day on the train there and back from work. This was my springboard into reading. That half an hour existing in another world, deep in someone else’s thoughts was the gateway to ‘good inspiration stuff’. What I mean by that is when you read fiction your brain is working, it’s sorting through those words, giving you a picture in your mind, all the while your wonderful brain is processing those words, that story and considering what those ideas mean to you.

For me this always meant exploring those ideas in more detail. I’d read National Geographic with vigour because my brain gets addicted to learning and discovery. I start to read everything I come across because I love it. I start to read factual content critically, I can find newspaper articles and read articles from the conflicting viewpoint so I can come to my own conclusions.

I realised I was doing none of this because my spare moments had turned to something else.

They’d turned to Twitter.

Now, I love Twitter. I love being able to see the processes of my favourite authors. I love laughing when Twitter shows our collective solidarity in the face of fear. We saw this the other day when everyone thought there was an attack on Oxford Street. We saw videos of the staff of Hamley’s entertaining frightened children. On other days we see our collective wit and humour, people highlighting phrases in the new 50 Shades book and commenting on how Anastasia Steele should be commended because she knew how to properly handle raw chicken before settling into an afternoon of debauchery.

But Twitter is a dark precipice. I try my utmost to stay on this playful edge, but when your brain loves reading and you’ve starved it of good inspiration, it will do what any starved creature will do. It reads anything to quench its appetite.

So you start to do very foolish things. You start reading replies. Replies to Donald Trump and replies to people saying they enjoy Michael McIntyre’s Saturday night show. You see people having arguments over less than nothing and mentions of anything at all being populated by hate-mongers and negative Norberts.

And when you’re a writer looking for inspiration, this is all you’re feeding your poor writer’s brain. So every idea I had become about hatred on Twitter. So I’m getting it out of my system. And most importantly I’m making myself a promise to fix the error of my ways.

I promise to read. Read fiction and read good articles. All those articles titled ‘The Long Read’. I want to discover new publications and read good journalism from writers on both sides. I want to furnish my writer’s brain with a healthy diet of inspiration rather than starving it and allowing this gorge on trash.

And where Twitter is concerned I will have two very clear, very distinct rules:

  1. Don’t read replies
  2. Don’t respond to negativity

And hopefully, faithful reader, you’ll have some nice hearty content to put in your eyes from time to time.

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