Writing process

Crying over your own books

I’m sitting on the train, on my way to work, editing one of our own stories, when I get to a sad part. I start to blink, and then sniff. My eyes are watering, my nose is running and I don’t have a tissue to hand. Then, as the train stops at the next station, out of the corner of my eye I see one of the guys from work. He gets into my carriage.

What do I do?

Normally I’d say hi and we’d sit and talk for the rest of the journey.

I pretend I don’t see him, engrossed as I am in whatever I’m ‘looking at’ on my computer. Which, by now is nowhere near the sad part. I don’t look up.

I find a tissue—at last—and wipe my eyes surreptitiously and blow my nose as I get off the train.

I lie. “Why, hello Michael. I didn’t realise you were in the same carriage,” and I blow my nose again. “My hayfever’s bad today,” I say, in an effort to explain the red eyes and runny nose


Later that night, when I finally get back to editing that part of the story, I don’t cry at all.


I don’t mind. Earlier, just for a moment, I had managed to invoke in a reader the emotions we were trying for when we wrote that piece.

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