I was on a packed tube one sweaty Saturday, when a woman beside me said to her friend, ‘I worked on my novel yesterday. About three thousand words...’
‘Oh, cool,’ he said.
‘Not sure about that,’ she laughed. ‘I read it back this morning and it’s rubbish. I should’ve gone out with you instead.’
I can’t tell you how much that comforted me as a writer, who was at the time in a creative slump, convinced I’d never write anything worth reading again and no other writer knew such frustration. Without knowing, without meaning to, the stranger in the tube carriage put my mind at ease; her words were like a nonexistent nod that said, ‘We are all the same.’
There’s something to be said for knowing you aren’t the only one, that ‘it happens to the best of us’, that most writers – perhaps even every writer – has that little voice inside their head that enjoys talking them out of writing and away from their desk, talking their pen away from …