There’s a huge difference between writing creatively and writing for a practical purpose. I can sit at my computer faced with a blank page and make up characters and events fairly easily. I’m not saying that I can write amazing characters and fantastic prose without even thinking about it (I wish) but creative writing comes quite naturally to me. It’s what writing is. But, this weekend, I’ve been faced with a different sort of writing – the dreaded job application.
Of course, I’ve procrastinated. I’ve been to two brilliant Borderlines Book Festival events, I’ve started on the final edit of my latest book, I’ve walked the dog for longer than strictly necessary and I’ve even done a bit of gardening. And now I’m writing this. All the time, though, it’s there, lurking in the back of my mind like a guilty secret. It’s not the application form that bothers me – I can copy and paste all my previous jobs and qualifications from other documents – it’s the covering letter. I have no more than five hundred words to explain why I have applied for this job.
Where to start? I want to do something that’s not teaching? I like where you’re based? It’s not too many hours so I’ll still have plenty of time for walking and writing? I’m never sure how honest I can be and I worry that I’ll say something that will be quoted back to me in an interview and that I can’t remember ever writing. I don’t want to lie but, somehow, the truth seems just a bit too mundane. So I sit in front of a blank word document and try not to panic, I’ve still got a few days, I’ll think of something.