This weekend, for the first in a long time, I went out with friends for drinks. Not a big deal, you might say, and you’re right, it’s not a big deal. But it’s something I do not nearly enough.
Like many writers trying to get their first novel published, I tend to spend all my spare time writing or, if I can’t write, reading. I have an innate awareness of not wanting to waste time. I get itchy if I can’t write, or if I have been coerced into doing something that takes me away from the laptop during my valuable writing time. I am aware of all the published authors, such as Zadie Smith, who advise ring-fencing your writing time and space and protect it against everything and everyone.
So when the prospect of going out on a Friday night with some friends arose a big part of me didn’t want to go. I would an evening of lost time, I would most likely be exhausted the following day and subsequently lose Saturday’s writing time to an early night. And I was right, that’s exactly what happened.
But something else happened too: I had a brilliant evening. Lots of laughter, lots of fun and a great reminder about the world we live in and write about. After all, how can we write about the world without experiencing it and all its beautiful quirks and characters? Like the man so drunk that the only thing we could understand was the libidinous glint in his eye as he slurred at us and spilt his drink. Or the nervous woman with a hairclip shaped like a bird, who asked us eight times in half an hour if our cheese board was alright. I heard the twisting turning tales of my friends lives, and shared a few of my own.
Writing brings out the hermit in me, it fuels my reclusive side. It was fun, and beneficial, to shrug it off for an evening and participate in the world I write about. Just think: future plot lines and protagonists are only a pub away.