There’s an enjoyable piece in today’s Guardian in which nine authors comment briefly on whether they actually like writing or not. It makes reassuring reading for anyone who’s ever tried to write anything longer than a postcard. Hari Kunzru, not in my experience known for modesty, admits here: ‘there are the pitfalls of self-disgust, boredom, disorientation and a lingering sense of inadequacy, occasionally alternating with episodes of hysterical self-congratulation as you fleetingly believe you’ve nailed that particular sentence and are surely destined to join the ranks of the immortals, only to be confronted the next morning with an appalling farrago of clichés that no sane human could read without vomiting.’ Which is, in a word, succinct.
Will Self, by contrast, loves every bit of the writing process: ‘most seductive of all [is] the buying of stationery’. I used to enjoy that part of writing as well, at least until computers came along and killed the need for pens and Tippex. Then again, I still get a rush of excitement looking at a nice blank notebook whenever I’m in Smiths or Rymans. For anyone who shares this particular fetish, here are some pictures of blank notebooks.