This time of year is great. I love Christmas. But on the flip side there are so many nights out where I feel my attendance is obligatory, at least, to maintain some kind of tenuous membership with the in-crowd. Why bother? Yeah, I know. Am I that shallow? Again - as Roger Murtaugh likes to say - I'm too old for this shit.
Tonight, for instance.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like going out, downing a few shots of Jack, and slamming out a tune or two if someone hands me the mike, but it really takes precious time away from the writing, doesn't it? I should be home, in front of my desktop, banging out a revision, instead of knocking out the same old stories with a bunch of mates who don't really get what it is I do. Sure, they know I dabble with words, but it's difficult to explain the writing bug to someone who has never had the inclination to do so.
I have abandoned many nights out over the last decade or so - with one lame excuse or another - because of this. Invariably one of two things happens: either I produce something approaching literary nirvana, or I find myself on Level Three of another Playstation game. It's all or nothing with me sometimes --
-- but then, I think it's important to maintain a good balance between the personal and the social time. As a writer, interaction is a necessity. Character building depends on it. Dialogue thrives on it. Sometimes, even a shabby plot can be rescued by it. Ultimately, it amounts to opening up your possibilities and not limiting the input that you have. Experience counts. It is what will give you the edge. But it's a fine balance nonetheless.
So, I'll still go out tonight, have a good time, spend £50, grab a cab at 2am, and roll into work six hours later with a smile on my face...
...but - just like when I was single (but for very different reasons) - I'll probably regret it later.