Hello, and welcome to my blog Writing and Breathing.

Usually I breathe without thinking – roughly 15 times a minute. That’s 900 breaths an hour; 20,000 or so a day. In, two, three; out, two, three – nice and steady. But now and then it’s not so straightforward – it’s as if I have forgotten how to do it. I open and shut my mouth like a fish, but no air gets in – or out. I start to panic. Then, just as I feel I’m going to burst, fall on the floor, and die horribly and inelegantly, my throat relaxes and – hey presto! – I’m back breathing normally again. No one has a good explanation for why this happens: (“Panic attack? But doctor I only start to panic when I stop breathing.”)

Writing isn’t like that. I know I won’t die if I don’t write a word all day, or all week. But I do start to panic a little if too many days go by without putting pen to paper – or, these days, finger to keyboard. (“Call yourself a writer …?”) Writing may not come easily, and often isn’t rewarded – a peek into the bottom two drawers in my desk for the unpublished masterpieces and rejection letters will prove that. But failing to write isn’t life-threatening. It can actually free you up to do lots more socially useful and lucrative things with your day.

However, now I have had my second novel published, I am indeed going to call myself a writer, and start a writer’s blog. In this I may write about work I have had published or performed (novels, short stories, several plays) as well as work in progress. I propose to invite other writers to drop by and talk about their work. Sometimes I will write about things I have learnt that have helped with my writing, or getting published, or marketing the finished product. Often I will write about words – their meaning and where they come from – as these things interest me. Sometimes I may just write about things that have amused me, or made me angry, in the world of books.

And if I get to know the cure for unexplained breathing lapses, I’ll let you in on that too.


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