My favourite cartoon of all time appeared in Private Eye many years ago and featured two people at a cocktail party. One is saying 'I'm writing a novel" and the other replies "Neither am I" (I have only been able to find the 'diary' version below).
The cartoon hits on a truth about the frailty and vanity of human nature - many of us feel we have a novel in us but happen to find it inconvenient to actually sit down and put anything down on paper just at the moment. That was certainly my situation for many years - I recall feeling pretty confident that I would write my first novel 'one day when I have the time.'
When it came to it I wrote The Peppered Moth not so much because I had the time (I was working as the assistant to the General Secretary of the Franco British Council at the time) but because I was extremely inspired. Consequently I found myself writing at all sorts of odd hours and even used to get up an hour early so I could get in a bit of writing before I went to work (anyone who knows me will tell you that I am usually extremely reluctant to get out of bed at all).
One feature of that project was that I kept absolutely silent about it. I felt that talking would kill the energy and might result in me being one of those poor benighted creatures who tells everyone they are writing a novel and then never finishes it. I actually had a friend who told anyone who would listen that he was writing a book. After a couple of years of people asking him, at every social gathering, "How's the novel going?" he did the only decent thing and emigrated to Australia. He hasn't been seen or heard of since.
Nowadays my circumstances have changed. I am the father of two small children and my wife works full time. Between the hours of about 9.00am and 3.30pm I have to try and earn a living doing such things as consulting for The Trafalgar Way, a job that utilises my knowledge of Nelson and The Napoleonic Wars. If I want to write a novel, and believe me I always want to be writing a novel, I have to steal a few hours here and there.
Inspiration is never a problem - it is time that is always against me, but now I am less concerned about keeping silent. Yes there is the danger that some of the energy goes but in the modern world you must, apparently, blog about your novel while you are writing it. As far as I can see this is written in stone because it is the only way to build interest and wet appetites. Loth as I am to give away the farm I must must must share my journey so that when I finally announce, after however long it takes (and yes it is going to take a while) that I am launching my new work of fiction I have to have some chance that I am not announcing it to an empty room.