Livestream Of A Writer, Writing

Hi, I have no idea where this is going. Nope, I have got some idea.

Let me tell you why I’m doing this.

Last week, on holiday in Dorset, I sent a book proposal to my agent. I’ve been meaning to send it for ages – and I did. And we talked about it, while I sat in the car, parked under a tree because it was so beastly hot. He was hot somewhere else.

And he said he liked the proposal very much. Sure, there were a few things to change here and there, but nothing too big.

It’s about How To Write, though that title will need a bit of work.

Fairly obvious way to extend what I’ve already done with A Modest Book About How To Make An Adequate Speech. Because I’ve been a writer all my adult life, and tried various different kinds of writing.

So: I was talking to my friend Wendy – also a writer – and she said she’d only ever once seen a writer actually writing. Not just looking at them at a distance, in the British Library, but actually watching over their shoulder. It was (I think she said) Ian Rankin, on telly for a few minutes.

And I mentioned this to some other people, in a group of creative wizards I set up to stay sane during lockdown –

(Gosh, what a lot of noise outside.)

- and the people in this group were very encouraging and pleased to hear what I have in mind. I told them I’d quite like to write the book semi-publicly, so that I can learn from the people who want to learn from me, if you see what I mean, and create a better book as a result.

And they gave me a few suggestions. One, which I did yesterday, was to record the sound of myself typing as I wrote a blog post and put it on my podcast.

My initial thought was that this would be tremendously dull, and I’m sure it is, to some people. But I have to tell you that I found the sound of rapid bashing on the keyboard quite mesmerising. It was a bit like listening to the soundtrack of somebody walking (which is where this my friend got the idea).

Anyway, so I recorded myself on the iPhone, and popped it on my podcast, which if you don’t know already is called an ADEQUATE podcast, and I’ll probably put links on this page later but not yet. [Done.]

Then I started thinking what fun it might be to get some writer friends to do the same, and to post the sound of their typing on my podcast, with little pre-amble or explanation.

I sent a few emails and messages on Twitter. Some came back quickly, asking only for details of how to do it, send it to me etc. I’m very pleased.

I’ll wait to hear from more of them before I give any names, but I can tell you that they include journalists, writers of fiction, non-fiction, books for young people – and more. How utterly thrilling for me to know the sound of their typing is coming my way.

One idea I have is to mix the sound together, so that it feels like I’m typing in company with them all. Have it as a kind of backing track when I’m working. “Write along with So-And-So…”

Anyway. Ho hum.

[Stops typing so fast for a moment to think.]

About yesterday’s typing sound. I stopped typing, and stopped the recording, at almost exactly 20 minutes. This morning, I looked at the blog post I wrote and counted the words: 900. That’s pretty fast! I haven’t lost it!

(I’m afraid I have always been rather pleased with myself since a senior editor told me he’d never known anybody produce copy so fast.)

I’m going to stop in a sec, but there’s something very important to add, and I know that only the people reading this and watching along live (ie, you) will ever know about it, because nobody else (quite rightly) gives a t*ss. (I’m typing on Facebook, let’s keep this clean!)

The thing I need to add is that I shall be writing my How To Write book semi-publicly, in August. I want to learn from people who want to learn from me. It’s a bit early to say exactly how long I’ll be doing it, or what exactly will be involved. (It’s only going to be semi-public, so I haven’t quite decided how to include people who want to be included.)

Point is, if you’re interested in hearing more, you should probably look for a way to get in touch so that you don’t miss anything. You could look at my website, where I’m typing this specifically this page:

And you could “like” my Facebook page called something like Creative Adventures With John-Paul Flintoff. Follow me on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter, all that jazz. Oh, and do subscribe to the podcast if you want to hear the sound of writers, writing.

I won’t mind if you unfollow – it’s a free country, just.

Goodbye for now.