First the confession. I’ve become distracted, neglecting writing my book to give my love and attention to another new thing. I could blame J. K. Rowling, but that would hardly be fair. (No, I haven’t just seen the last Harry Potter movie, and I’m not repressing the irresistible urge to re-read the entire series of her books, although the film is on my ‘to watch’ list). I read about her new web venture, going fully public in October. Ah-ha! A website! A little research, and it seems all the good authors have their own websites, displaying their creations to the world, and sharing varying amounts of personal information; from their inside leg measurement, and the fact that they like Marmite; to multiple pseudonyms and a secret identity. More research, and too many blog entries to list all mention that if you want anyone to read your latest work then you need an on-line presence to let the world know you exist. That’s the rationalisation. The truth? I like the idea of having a website. If I had a website I’d be cool, and down with the kidz. I’d feel like a proper writer. Plus, I may try my hand at a short story at some point. Then, when the hordes of readers *cough* become overwhelmed with curiosity about the writer *cough*, they would have somewhere to go to find the information. Not convinced? Me neither.

So, I’ve looked at websites, hosting, design, CSS, Flash, HTML, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and all manner of new shiny things. I’ve finally made some decisions; WordPress was a better fit for me than Blogger, for example. I’ve even decided to sort out hosting for a website. Useful? At this stage, no. Fun? For me, yes. ‘Geek!’ I hear you cry. Sometimes, but also curious. One of the things that I love about writing is that it fires not only my imagination, but my curiosity. With all the research that goes into a well written piece curiosity seems to be an essential attribute in a writer. Even if it is only wanting to find out if that latest spark of an idea will grow into a novel curiosity is one of my major motivations for writing.

Are there dangers? Yes. Give in to too many distractions and you rob yourself of the satisfaction of actually finishing something, and (optimistically?) your audience of the enjoyment of reading it. Do I feel guilty for putting my writing on the back burner for a few days? Not yet. After a little time away I find writing feels fresh again, new ideas come faster, and sometimes problems I had with plot, characterisation, or whatever suddenly have solutions. Curiosity hasn’t killed the book, it helps me to write it.

What’s recently caught your attention? How much of a part does curiosity play in your writing? Is it even possible to be a good writer without being curious about the world around you? Let me know what you think.