journalism v creativity

So, I was interviewed earlier this week by Peter Murphy at Hot Press magazine. Who also happens to be a novelist as well as a journalist. It was the first interview I’ve done about the next novel Smokeheads, and I’d forgotten what a strange experience it is from the other side.

For the last eleven plus years I’ve been a journalist, music to start with, then a wide range of other shit. It’s only been since my first novel was published in 2006 that I’ve been interviewed myself much, although there was a smattering of it from various bands I’ve been in before that.

Anyway, the interview earlier this week got me thinking again about the strange conflict between being creative and writing about others’ creativity. No band or writer wants to be pigeonholed, as the cliche goes, or compared to others out there, but that’s a handy journalistic shorthand for getting across what the band or writer are like, so what’s the problem?

I’ve never really thought journalism was particularly high-minded, least of all the kind of stuff I was writing, but it always annoyed me when bands got the hump about something I’d written. Journalism doesn’t have the best reputation, but every journalist I’ve known has written with integrity and honesty. My books and albums that my bands have released have had good and bad reviews, and I’ve tended to take it all with a pinch of salt.

I guess it’s important to get good reviews and coverage, to try and get your ‘art’ out there into the wider world, but I find myself less and less bothered about what other people write about what I do. I’ve spent the last year out of the loop mostly, not buying papers or magazines, not reading much journalism, not keeping up with shit, and I find my mental health all the better for it. Whether that state of affairs continues when the next novel is out in March remains to be seen. But I hope not to get hung up on that review panic thing all writers seem to get. At least the ones that aren’t already so rich and famous they can afford not to give a shit.

Aye so, in summary. Being creative is hard. Writing good journalism is hard. Can’t we all just get along? Like, dude.


About Doug Johnstone

I write things
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