The Dissertation Diary – Preemptive Stress

So this week has marked the beginning of something many people live with every day. The commute. I have traveled each day via train from the Home Counties commuter belt into London for work. Admittedly my travel over the past week has been incrediblyā€¯ easy with no problems and a satisfactory experience. However it has brought to light the question that no one particularly wants to have answered. What the hell am I going to do once this is all over.

The obvious answer is to be a writer. Therefore it is also the most pointless. I could spend a lifetime trying to become a writer, but I could also spend just as long trying to recover from what I have written. For example, J.K Rowling will forever be tainted with “this isn’t as good as Potter” reviews. It’s best not to think of these things and just let them happen.

The question that seems more pertinent is: What kind of writing do I want to do and how can I make a living from it? Somehow I have become a journalist. I wrote a blog once on video game music I like, that led to writing reviews and opinion, that led to sports punditry which has led to submitting articles for the London Evening Standard and The Guardian. This is all in the space of two years. When I started this mad quest for further education and dream following, I had had the grand idea of writing for TV. I still have that idea, but so much has happened in the past 2 years, to me and in general, for me to really know what I want to do.

This problem translates itself to my writing and to the story. How do I write it? What kind of voice will tell the story? Is the story funny, sad, endearing or just plain dull? What perspective should I write from? In essence my entire confusion on life, my insecurities and my eternal question of “What do I do?” is copied into my work. It is shown by the text and the way the characters behave, speak and how I fill the gaps in between. One thing is certain, both me and the story have an ending pictured. It’s just trying to get there that’s the trouble. If Stephen King was reading this right now, he’d probably tell me to get on with it and don’t be afraid of the beast you produce, just let it flow. So I will.

Since writing this, I got a train home… Drunk. Of all my commuting experience, that is by far the worst. Naughty alcohol.


Word count: 10

Reading: Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney


The Dissertation Diary – It Begins

Good day to you internet world. I hope this post finds you well.

So this morning I got this grand idea – partly to keep me sane and partly to practice my craft – to create a diary for my final year at university, centred around my final project. Most commonly known as the ‘dissertation,’ I’ve decided to do mine as creative writing rather than a research based piece. Yes, I can hear you all screaming “easy option” at me. It’s not an easy option, as I’m sure the next years’ worth of these posts will serve to prove. So, inspired by this book I’m reading right now about creating such a weblog (Just a Geek – Wil Wheaton) , let me begin THE DISSERTATION DIARY.

Of course this wouldn’t be indicative of myself without something fairly stupid happening. Naturally, it happened immediately. The Dissertation Diary rolls off the tongue thanks to its alliteration. However, it doesn’t suit my fast paced iOS6 based existence. So I decided to privately shorten the name for my own reference to the Double D. That’s right, no more than thirty seconds into this blogs’ theoretical existence, I had reduced it to a breast based pun. Similarly I also realised as this would be updated fairly regularly, it could become home to my intrinsic pessimistic nature. For example, some life advice: When the Oyster card machine says “Next time, why don’t you top up online?” – Don’t. What seems like a grand painless idea is nothing but 30 minutes of website based agony for you to find that the payment won’t go on to your Oyster until after 24 hours so you arrive at the station expecting to be topped up, aren’t, and have to manually top up anyway, costing you more money… You know, those kinds of things.

Which is what led me to conceive the project idea I’m doing. It has come to my attention that my stories suffer from one flaw. They are all fairly melancholic. Something bad happens, has happened, is going to happen, or twists to happen. It’s part of the curse of creative writing courses I suppose that, whilst learning to do new things, expand your craft and work out what you’re good at, you terminally end up at some kind of vitally depressing moment. It wasn’t until I wrote up a stand-up routine recently that I realised I can shift this part of my work into my naturally endearing self-deprecating stage persona. For once, I actually know what I’m doing with a story, or at least where it will end up.

Writing is a horribly depressing deep dark hole where you start typing with seemingly no real guidance as to where you’re heading. It’s an amazing adventure, coupled with complete and total despair leaving in its wake a plethora of half baked ideas, cast-aside moments and many bottles of whatever world/craft beer I’m preferring to our pathetically mass produced shit this week. (At the moment, Samuel Adams and Jeremiah Weed Root Brew). So it’s amazing that for once, I have not only the idea, but the end as well! I have the exact moment in my head for where this story will finish. All I need to do is guide my three characters on their journey (literal and metaphorical) to that point. Whilst at the same time showing progress, criticism, editing nuance and a distanced relationship with my baby. Coupled with doing the rest of the university work I have to do, forging a career and constantly reading. Which reminds me I need to thank Stephen King for his advice. Apparently having a book in your bag all the time is the subject of ridicule among my friends. Who knew?

So, that’s it. I’ll end this post as I hope to end every post in the Double D. With a word count for the story and what I’m currently reading. For this entry, I’ll also show you what I’ve read over the summer that’s helped me to nurture this germ of an idea.



Word Count: 0

Reading: Just a Geek – Wil Wheaton

Summer reads: The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins; On Writing – Stephen King; Black Dogs – Ian McEwan; The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald; Ready Player One -Ernest Cline; A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking; Watching Baseball Smarter – Zack Hample; A Catcher In The Rye – J.D. Salinger.