Writing is an odd job. I know I've said this a thousand times, but sometimes I look at myself and wonder, "Did you really think this through?"


The factor I didn't entirely think through is a factor known to science as "my entire personality".


I'm quite a social person. I love being around people. Talking, getting the giggles, even arguing with people is fun if everybody knows not to thump their fists on the table and scream "oh shut UP Darren you neofascist" and so forth. Being a writer involves extricating oneself from society. It means sitting alone and writing for long periods of time about people, none of whom you come into contact with, due to the fact that you're too busy writing about them to talk to any of them.


This is fine, I knew this would happen. I knew I would need the self-discipline to say, "Actually I can't do that fantastically interesting thing over there because I have to be utterly boring". It's like my old maths teacher Mr Raff used to say, "If you don't want to learn, that's fine by me". Because the person who's going to lose is always you.


As a result of this, I have become antisocial. This is in direct contravention of (see above) "my entire personality".


And even that's fine. I mean, it's awful, but it's a trade-off. I don't see my friends as much as I used to, but I've done the projects I set out to do and I've enjoyed them and I've quit my day-job and I'm feeling less like a caged bird than I used to when I was trying to juggle all these things at once and surely my friends understand, provided they remember who I am, and I love them, and they know that. 


What does bother me is what's happening now. Think of it, if you will, as a war. On one side there's my writing, and on the other side there's my personality. Sometimes my personality wants to kill my work because it causes my personality pain. Sometimes my work subdues my personality. Occasionally, they go into diplomatic talks and they organise a compromise whereby I can have a nice time with friends and also get some work done. 


What's happening now is: there's been a coup. My work is taking over. It's infiltrating my personality. Just like those diagrams of World War II with the pincer movements of troops across maps of Eastern Europe, my personality is under attack. 


Working by yourself is lonely. You don't talk to people in the office kitchen, or pick up the phone and call the department of whatsisface to talk to that lady with the scratchy voice about that invoice they should have sent. You don't have to deal with anybody at all if you don't want to. And in fact, it becomes more and more difficult the less you do it. As a result of this mental coup, I am becoming, I suspect, a true writer. I misjudge the moment at the dinner table and come off as obnoxious. I talk too loudly and too enthusiastically. I over-think. Afterwards, I wish I had said nothing at all.


 So if you know a writer, or someone who works freelance and gets to have coffee in the sun whenever they like and answers to nobody and refuses to get out of bed early unless there's a deadline: be nice to them. It's not always as fun as it looks.