So. I’m about a third of the way through Getting Things Done, which I first heard about maybe six or seven years ago but chose to ignore. Most things, therefore, have remained undone. I guess I wasn’t ready.
Thus far, I’m finding it a very exciting read. It’s not at all annoying, which is unusual for anything that might be described as self-help, and it’s based upon some very practical, eminently applicable principles. I think it may actually succeed in helping me change a great many deeply ingrained and very very bad habits. Inshallah.
On Saturday afternoon, whilst taking a break from the book I became immersed in a seemingly impromptu reorganisation of everything on my computer, during which I came across something I had written in 2004. I was not long back from living in Italy and I’d just started my first blog. In order to defend myself against self-levelled accusations of vanity and arrogance, I wrote out a list of 21 reasons why I’d decided to start writing about my life online.
What struck me most on rereading it after many years was how little anything has changed. I’ve managed to cure my hypochondria and Stephen Pollard is thankfully no longer on my radar but the rest remains pretty much the same. And that’s not awfully encouraging. Numbers 7 and 19 especially. Time eh?
The main difference now, I guess, is that I’m getting things done. Inshallah.
So, this is what I wrote in 2004 – 21 Reasons for Keeping a Blog…
1. Because I’m vain and conceited and I want people to read my words and look into my mind and like what they see and fall in love with me.
2. Because I want someone to offer me money for something, and that is marginally more likely to happen if they actually know I exist.
3. Because time is running out.
4. Because I need some sympathy for my acute hypochondria.
5. Because in the absence of a girlfriend, a blog is someone to share things with – like when you go to a club, and you dance on your own, and you leave on your own, and you’re on your way home to cry and yearn for death when suddenly a fox runs out from behind a sloppy privet and stops a metre in front of you, its eyes gleaming in the sulphur lamplight, its moth-eaten tail covered in chip-fat from the bins it’s been raiding and you feel – just for a second – you feel at one with all living things and you feel privileged to be alive; or like when you wake up at 4am because there are cats under your window screeching like babies in nettleskin suits. Those moments. You know? You can tell your blog. And even though your blog might not actually give a fuck, it won’t stare at you for a moment, speechless, then just shake its head slowly and look away.
6. Because even girlfriends don’t like to be woken up at 4am with stories of foxes and babies. Not after the first six weeks anyway.
7. Because I just recently came back to this country after four years in Italy specifically in order to make a living from writing, and if I don’t do it by January 31st, 2006, I may have to end my life, or at least leave the country again. I don’t mind leaving the country again, but not because I’ve failed. And yes, I feel a blog might help.
8. Because I’m a deluded narcissist.
9. Because in a few short days’ time I have to go back to teaching the present perfect to nubile young Koreans in order to pay the rent and the idea of writing in this thing every day or so when I get home all sweaty and full of fantasy will make me feel less Mammon’s whore and more like someone with an agenda.
10. Because I’ve given up lots of different futures for some fucking reason or other, and writing was the only reason I could ever come up with, and most of what I write is seen by no-one… actually, this is the same as 7.
11. Because I want to hypnotise a gang of chavs and sack Romford.
12. Because it really is never too late to find true, everlasting, super-requited love and if you start a website and mention it often enough, it might just fall into your lap, like a forkful of hot beans on a wet Wednesday afternoon.
13. Because I want to captivate some literary agent with a rogue mention of ‘The Adventures of Trout McFee’ and eventually land a multi-million-dollar film franchise.
14. Because I need to put my ass on the line.
15. Because I might, once in a while, squeal up something worth hearing.
16. Because I’m sick to my stomach of the fact that certain things I’ve written that I’m proud of lie disintegrating in folders and drawers in various parts of the world when they could be on public view, bringing joy to tens of people and admiration, respect and who knows what else to me.
17. Because I don’t want to be murdered by real life.
18. Because if Stephen Pollard can do it, so can I.
19. Because if February 2006 arrives and I’m still not making a living from writing and from writing alone, then I shall be forced to flee and teach English somewhere near an azure sea and devote myself to staving off cancer with good living, no longer overwhelmed by hopelessness, vain ambition and unfulfilled desire. Just the joy of devoting myself to a single worthwhile pursuit and enjoying a pressure-free existence with lots of swimming and sun. And that’s the last thing I want.
20. Because I’m going blind, and I need to make use of my eyes while I still can.
21. Because I’m worth it.