Writing for radio 8: a streak of evening sun
Is it the same hammer?

A very Itchy birthday

Today's the third birthday of This Itch of Writing, and a good moment to thank everyone who's joined in over the years. I really didn't know, when I started this blog, whether I would find I had anything to say, or anything I wanted to say, let alone whether anyone would want to listen or respond. So it's been a delight to find that I have, and people do. Indeed, it hasn't just been fun: I've thrashed out ideas on here which ended up in my PhD, and your comments have enlarged not just my ideas about writing, but my knowledge of how other writers work, which has been invaluable for teaching. I've had wonderful and useful books recommended, and I've made great friendships and connections. I do know that the blog has rather outgrown the original categories, and one day when I've nothing better to do (or I'm desperately looking for displacement activity) I'll try to extend it. Meanwhile, I thought I'd celebrate by posting links to some of the pieces which have got the biggest response.

When it comes to posts about how you handle your creative self, one which seems to have struck a most resounding chord was on procrastinating: Cup of Tea? I'll Get Going in a Minute. A sister-piece, I guess you could call it, listed some of the garments you might have stashed in The Inner Critic's Dressing-up Box. With the book trade in even more of a spiral of doom and gloom I've found myself remembering The Market for Ropes, and saying over like a litany the reasons why, as a writer, you must try to keep industry news outside the boundaries of your creative self.

An early post, Practical Parenting, was having fun with the books-as-babies analogy, but it's startling to realise that the novel I was just waving off to university has been out in the world for nearly two years, and the one that's taking up all the space in my head is now a lusty school-child, trying to pass its 11+. Talking of milestones, Writing for Radio has been the most sustained series of posts, while another piece of fun is the very recent Author's Lament.

A post on a forum developed into How To Get The Best Out of An Editorial Service, and gave birth to the whole Resources section of the blog. It's been hugely useful to have to think technical issues out properly, too, from my post In Praise of the Long Sentence, to thinking aloud about reading aloud in Harnessing the Trojan Horse or the uses of reasearch in In Search of the Odd, Crunchy Details. Forums themselves have got me thinking, from flame wars over 'the rules' in Messes, Clones and Plots like a W, to the troubles caused by mis-matches between critiquer and critiquee in To the Point. I also love the connections that blogging leads to, which give birth to posts like Under Your Skin and Into Your Core.

One of the joys is how the blog gives me somewhere to explore tangential ideas, away from the current novel and its preoccupations. Whether it's talking about How many viola parts does it take to make a novel, or monochrome photography and polychrome sculpture in Nothing Remotely Trivial, when you start mapping to and fro among the arts, often something that's hard to articulate about writing becomes very clear. It was architecture which gave rise to Building the Bridge, which is another post that keeps cropping up in the stats. 

And finally, to celebrate this third birthday of This Itch of Writing, and as part of my resolution that it should keep on Being a Snow Leopard, here are two posts from the furthest, opposite edges of the liminal area which I, and my writing, and this blog, all inhabit: The Real Sixth Sense and Note Number 24

I hope you've enjoyed some of these, and some others. As ever, as a writer, I only really know I'm that heard by what the hearers say. So to everyone who comments, links, catches me at a reading, sends me an email or just shows up in the stats working your way through the archive I'd like to say: thank you for joining in the conversation.

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