The Big Smoke

I had to go to London yesterday on business.  Now this isn’t usually something I relish, where possible I try and avoid going simply because I don’t like it.  Not London in general you understand, but the whole travelling there, the rush to get to the office.  On this occasion I was doing some training on our IT infrastructure for the other support teams (which went well), but as I stood on Oxford Street watching the hustle and bustle a thought occurred to me.

As I said, I don’t really enjoy business trips to London, I spend a couple of hours on the train each way (at least), usually arrive at rush hour, usually leave at rush hour and spend a large amount of time feeling hot or being pressed up against other people on the underground.  And most of the time it’s for a couple of hour’s meeting.  Grim.  But when we took the kids to London last year we had a fantastic time, and while I was standing outside Kings Cross station I suddenly got the urge to bring the kids back again.  They keep asking and I think it would be quite nice to come back at Christmas, to see the lights and re-visit all the museums which they enjoyed so much when we went last time.

So how can I stand there in the middle of rush hour at the end of an exhausting day in a scenario I know I don’t enjoy and then contemplate a leisure trip?  I guess it’s a bit like writing, I do it for pleasure and I do it when I choose and do what I choose.   What if my writing ever became like business trips to London – what if I did it because I had to do it rather than because it’s something I enjoy?  Are there any best-selling authors who’ve written a series of books that carry on because that’s their only source of income and they can’t do anything else?  I’m not talking about people like Dean Koontz (Moonlight Bay book 3 anyone?), but a little further down the chain – those who sell enough to make a living but carry on simply because it pays the bills, assuming there are authors like that (and I can’t believe there aren’t).  After a dozen books does it become just another job rather than pleasure?

You have to understand that I love my job.  I’m lucky and I couldn’t imagine being in a job that I hated and going to work every day.  To me that would be soul-destroying.  Don’t get me wrong, it has its frustrations, but generally I enjoy it.

Like anyone who writes and has fantasized and played the ‘what if it gets published game’ I used to think it would be fantastic, to be able to write for a living, to be able to write book after book after book and know they will likely be published.  Yesterday made me think that might not be so great after all (well, unless you make multi millions and can retire) if there’s a possibility that it just becomes a ‘job’.   I’d hate that.

Still, the train journey gave me the opportunity to do some concentrated writing, which is the first time in a while (due to work commitments), so the trip had some benefits.


One comment on “The Big Smoke

  1. I just recently returned from London and I can totally relate to some of your pros and cons . . . the city it wonderful, but the traveling is brutal. However, I made the best of all the time I spent on trains. There was so much time to read and write! And because everyone is usually very quiet (I will never cease to be amazed by the silence on the underground) it was easy to focus on trying to find the right words. 🙂

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