Trapped wind (or is it a novel?)

photo[8]I hate it. I can see it in their cheap-Chardonnay-dilated eyes when I’m introduced at parties or pubs or political drinks things. “A writer, really? I’ve always thought I had a novel in me.”

“Gosh I say, smiling. Well you should definitely do something with that.”

When what I am thinking is “You patronizing, presumptious, conceited *insert expletive of choice here*. No one “has a novel in them”. We all have ideas, yes even you, you bloat-brained, idling *second expletive”. But few people have the skill and dedication to turn those ideas into words and then, harder still, get those words out of their heads and on to paper. What makes you think you could do that? I don’t say, ‘Oh, I could have been a doctor if I had been arsed. I’ve definitely got a twenty-four-hour heart transplant in me, I’ll probably try it when I retire.’ Because I wouldn’t be so fecking rude.”

Or would I? I am oh so very tempted to take a leaf from the clever and actual writer Che Golden’s book next time and reply, “A novel? Really? Don’t you think it might just be trapped wind?”

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature. I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name. I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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15 Responses to Trapped wind (or is it a novel?)

  1. Awesome post. I feel the same way whenever anyone tells me they would like to be a “writer someday!”

  2. I am soon going to start telling people that there are special new suppositories for that.

  3. V. Kathryn Evans says:

    And another thing, it makes all us unpublished writers feel we’re in the same boat as the ‘ I could do that’ brigade. Well go on then, do it. Devote all your spare time to persuing a career that nine times out of ten tells you to it’s otherwise engaged. Get the book out of you, it’s bugger all use in you. ‘In you’ it’s actually just some thoughts, not a book, and we ALL have those. Grrrrr….

  4. Excellent post. Writers write. That’s what makes us writers.

  5. I’ve I had a pound for every time someone has said that, I could try to wrest my pen from my hand and quit being a writer and retire! Next time offer them a laxative!

  6. Kay Woodward says:

    Fabulous! A woman once told me that she had the title all sorted, so the rest would be a doddle.

  7. Ha ha you really made me laugh!

  8. pirottablog says:

    Great post! I remember a time before JK when people’s eyes would glaze over if I told them I was a children’s writer. Now it’s, ‘you must be a millionaire…..grrrrr!

  9. Hayley Long says:

    Hahahaha. My favourite thing is when people tell me they know a ‘proper writer.’

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