It turns out that I’ve been writing this blog for ten years; ten long years of grouse, curlews and hill farming in Galloway. That’s a fair piece of work, but to me it represents a decent chunk of my life between the ages of 24 and 34.
People who know me will understand that I write all the time about all manner of things. I make a point of writing at least two or three thousand words a day – often for no other reason than because I simply enjoy it; it’s a puzzle and a workout. Perhaps that means that Working for Grouse is a lopsided perspective on my life because it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Still, it’s fun to use the blog as a sketchbook to play with new ideas and give them an airing for a while. I’ve tried hard not to be too precious about it. Some of the articles on here have been crap or wrong or badly expressed. But when it comes to writing, a friend reassured me by saying that “not everything you write can be the best thing you’ll ever write” – you don’t get better unless you practice, and you can’t get anywhere if you fixate on producing something that is utterly perfect. Turn it out, see what happens and move on. Sometimes I’ll come back to an article and recall the precise moment of writing it. Sometimes I am left with the raw ingredients I need to make something better. And there are other times I’ll come back to an article and cringe. Perhaps that’s my excuse for a decade of verbal diarrhoea; the enthusiasm of several million words.
You’d think I could hardly say more about this subject than I already have, but the rabbit hole keeps deepening. And I suppose the best reason I have for maintaining Working for Grouse is that it puts me in touch with interesting people. I have cause to be grateful for this blog every day of my life because it’s given me access to a network of sympathetic, interested folk across the world. I’m pathetically flattered by the support and friendship I’ve gathered in writing this blog, and I owe a vast debt to the many people who’ve read my articles and lent a hand. Thank you.
I’ve never made a penny out of this piece of work, and at first I was often embarrassed to admit that it has been a labour of love. But in my defence, what better reason does anyone have to labour?