Writing needs to be done regularly. Today, for example, felt like a struggle, though by the end of 1000 words, I was back in the groove I’d lost over the long weekend. I guess it’s one of those small rules about creativity that you learn by doing and doing regularly. Which is why I’m hoping that John Cleese’s new book titled ‘Creativity’ will help me. I probably need the help.
The book arrived today, and I intend to spend the rest of this wonderfully dark and rainy afternoon reading it beneath a window suitably positioned to drum gently as the rain hits it. Shouldn’t take too long. It’s 100 pages long and those are small, narrow, widely spaced pages. It explains why the book was so cheap for a hardback but, I also admit, I bought it because I could get a signed copy. My greatest sin is probably collecting signed books and this one goes on my shelf next to my prized possessions: my Vonnegut, Steve Martin, David Mamet, and John Le Carre.
In other news… Last night, I drew a new full colour editorial cartoon which I then sent off to a national newspaper and, naturally, heard nothing. I know I must repeat this complaint this ad nauseum but it’s shocking how hard it is to find contact details at the nationals. I see them publish cartoons objectively worse than those I send (I usually only bother them with the cartoons that work the best) but I’ve never once had a reply. I’ve asked people I know who have been published in those papers and they’re always polite in their replies but notably don’t tell me who they contact. I genuinely think they don’t want anybody else in on the secret. Or they think I’m too pushy or just insane, which I think about far too often lately. Perhaps I’m mad, though last night I was encouraged by other people to submit the cartoon. So, if I’m mad, it’s a madness shared by others. Still… I don’t know.
I was reading a couple of interesting articles by Private Eye cartoonist, Nick Newman, over at the Professional Cartoonists Organisation last night. He was lamenting the death of the industry but also how so few new cartoonists are coming through the ranks. He wonders why, whilst also acknowledging that rejection usually breaks the spirits of new cartoonists. I certainly understand that. He reckons every issue of Private Eye gets 500+ cartoons, of which they only select 50. 500 divided by 50 means that I should (in theory) have a 1 in 10 chance every time I submit. I know I’m well beyond 10 attempts over about 10 years of periodically trying. Plus the maths are surely better since I never send a single cartoon. I send a few…
I sometimes wonder about moving into graphic novels but it doesn’t appeal to me. I’d rather write a real novel than illustrate one since the difficult bit is constructing a narrative. Ii’s something I’ve singularly failed to master, even at the most rudimentary level. If could figure out a narrative, the writing bit wouldn’t bother me in the least.
Which is perhaps why I should leave this here and go read this book before the rain stops.