Wednesday, 12 November 2008

It's the Writing, Stupid

Feel I'm CRAWLING through Book 2. Once I could turn out 1,000 words, no problem. 700 of them may have been crap, but there was a sense of movement. Now 500 words per day are a struggle, bizzare since I'm now actually free to spend my days doing it. I thought I'd be doing 2,000 easily.

What's going on?

There's an interesting phenomena called homeostatis, which is about maintaining equilibrium of a system.

So, I'm upsetting the system that is ME. That's the day job, the usual grind, the urgency to write and use it to break the monotony. It's burgers for lunch, its fighting for a seat, its the daydreaming in the office and the scribbling on notes at meetings and ALL THAT CRAP. But it's what makes me, well, me.

Take all that away, even in a good way, and the system thinks WTF? It doesn't get the change, and there's a lot of resistance.

Basically what I'm saying is that it's hard going, even when it's all going your way. Strange, but true.

It's also that this is my first book where I've been paid for before I've written it. There's an expectation (and hope) that this will BLOW PEOPLE AWAY, that's what I'm aiming for anyway. Maybe having seen the height of the mountain I've suddenly got the willies, forgetting that you climb it one step and one word at a time.

I am very aware that actually (maybe) I've had a few big breaks very quickly, and maybe this is part of the 'not having earned it' with years and years of slogging. Can't be sure. There is no sitting pretty, not with the agents, not with the publishers, not with the front covers.

Maybe I've finally realised this profession is not the easy option.


rhubarbruby said...

I think it was Margaret Atwood who said, "If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word" ...

You'll get there. Your world's suddenly shifted on its axis so you're bound to take a while to settle back in.

Anyway, who am I to comment? You're the one getting published next year :-)

Jon M said...

Interesting post. I heard someone saying recently that they wrote to hide away from everyday life and it did occur to me that if your everyday life changes then what's there to hide from?

Adjustment will take time. I don't think there's a question over whether you've 'earned it.' You have the imagination and the ability, you wouldn't be where you are now without them.

Gareth said...

I'm with jon on this one - slogging away for years in the dark of obscurity without professional help (!) insn't a required apprenticeship!

I do think writing is an escape and it perhaps does come more quickly if you've only got limitied time to get down to it and not have 8 hours of creativity to "do" a day.

Maybe try structuring your day so you only have a couple of eg 2 hour sessions and the rest is packed with house, garden, food shopping, kids, exercise and a trip to Starbucks. You'll still have the physical time to pump out 500 - 2000 words but maybe it'll flow a lot more easily.

Keep going - as long as you're doing some writing/plotting each day you're closer to the goal than you were yesterday.

SarwatC said...

Thanks for your comments.

What's weird is that I can bring myself to the keyboard, but sometimes there's a resistance to starting. Once begun though, it's great.
However, progress on The Drak Goddess is good. Just over half-way and aiming to get first drfat done by Xmas. Maybe it's that difficult 'second album' problem.
Oh, has anyone seen Qauntum of Solace?
Pretty disappointed, I must admit.

Candy Gourlay said...

like you (well unlike you), i'm on a break right now from the day job and under similar pressure. i try to give myself permission to write large amounts of rubbish because i find that when there's something there to edit, it's easier than when there's nothing.

and quantum of solace wasn't that bad. they seem to be evolving james bond into something else. i liked that the incidental sex was minimal.

Jon M said...

I really enjoyed Quantum of thingy. Lots of action, could have had a bit more 'bond music,' but I had fun!
But I went to see Death Race not long ago and (whispers) quite enjoyed it.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


I was visiting Jon and saw your comment on the writing group. He and I are in the Shameless Lions Writing Circle together.

Let me offer you this:

Write write write... even if it keeps you up until the sun comes up, and yes... write on napkins and envelopes and extra pieces of paper, everywhere you go.
Then go home and put it together, like a puzzle.

And go check out Carolyn's page (Carolyn Smailes).

We both have links to her blogs.

Best of luck.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore (the lion)

SarwatC said...

But do you edit as you go along, or blast out the fiurst draft and then go back to it? I'm do the latter, even knowing stuff I'm writing contradicts what's gone before.

Will check out Carolyn's page immediately.

Oh, and on the subject of slightly diappointing things, am struggling through Twilight now. Started off really well but now Bella and Eddie are together the pace has really dropped. Looks like some new vampires are coming to town so hoping we're heading for a blood-soaked finale.

johnandsue said...

I am sure you will get used to it Sarwat, after all at least they want what you have written!!!!!!

SarwatC said...

Dear Jon and Sue,
Yes, I'm very aware of how lucky I am. I just want the luck to carry on for the next, oh...20 or 30 years.