Thursday, 20 September 2012

Well That Solves That Problem: I'm Not Meant to Be a Full Time Writer

Today was my first day back at work. 

It was also the first time in a week that I wrote for about 4 hours. 

I had a total of two, maybe three, successful full days during my holidays, and a lot of that included working on this blog and writing agent query letters etc.

The concept of a full day where I have nothing to do but write I thought would be amazingly liberating, would let me write so much more!

Wow, was I wrong. 

It was horrifying. 

But then I started to think that maybe all writing had become horrifying, that maybe I had just lost my will to write.

But no, do not fear. I just needed to be a bit more busy.

Was listening to Writing Excuses last night, an episode called 'pantsing'. They were talking about discovery writing, also known as by the seat of your pants writing, which is what I am currently doing a lot of. One of them was pointing out that when you do discovery writing, you really need to have a large block of time so that you can really get into the narrative flow.

Then another pointed out that this wasn't always good. Writing expands to fill the amount of time you have, like a gas. Having very strict writing times can actually help you to write more.

Wow, I thought to myself, wow. It's like they are talking about me!

Though, that was not all of my problems. It is definitely true for me that if I give myself too long a period, I just slow down and also get intimidated by the amount of time. However, it is also true that if I say I can write at any time in the day, I can very easily end up not writing at all. 

The third thing I found out today is that part of the problem might be the Castle Innis series. Well, not it, but me, but me to it, not just me. If you see what I mean.

I sat down again this morning to continue the amazingly slow work on book 3 (slow, largely because I haven't spent that many hours on it but also slow because it just isn't coming out). I then got a text from my sister saying I should try to get my first book published in Australia, and John Marsden's publisher, Pan McMillan has Manuscript Monday, where anyone can submit the first chapter of the manuscript along with a 300 word synopsis, and they promise to read it. 

So I went back to my first novel, Sally Hunt Book 1. I had spent quite a few hours yesterday editing it (how did it STILL have so many typos?) and had gotten to the part where I knew I had to re-write an entire scene. This morning, after spending about half an hour on Castle Innis, I then went and spent an hour and a half editing then beginning to write this new scene. 

The speed and easy with which it came out was like watching champagne overflow down a pyramid of glasses; beautiful, delicious, bubbly. And it wasn't because I knew what was going to happen, because I didn't, I hadn't expected what happened at all! 

And tonight night came home from work and said I would start writing at 7.30. Since I finished dinner at 7pm, I started reading Stephen King's Gunslinger. However, after finishing the intro, I decided I wanted to move straight into working on Sally Hunt, just because I felt like writing.

I spent the next two hours and think I have nailed most of the new scenes.  I just need to weave it back into the old text. I also need to change one or two more things later on (evidently my readers did not like that I left a lot of things until book 2, so will give some hints at how they are going to work out). 

So, obviously my mind is just in a young adult's language mode. I have had no trouble writing in regency period English before, so it is strange that I have it now, except perhaps I needed more time to switch over. 

But this is the end of the fortnight. And since my next book is a children's story (think E Nesbit style of thing), I might keep the simplified language and come back to Castle Innis after I've done some other historical practice. 

So, back to work, back to writing, back to trying to have it all.


  1. Intriguing! I am glad you are finding a balance between work and creativity.

    1. I think it's working. It's a bit of a precarious balance, as my results and whinges show, but two months in I'm still here, and while the last few drafts haven't gone so well, am still looking forward to the next one.

  2. Keep moving forward!Writing is never as easy as people say - the mix of discipline & relaxed spontaneous creativity is hard to master... Dont be too hard on yourself - many people take YEARS to write a book... Just know, you are an intelligent,creative person with an amazing ability to string together ideas & share them eloquently through words.So keep your head up & keep at it.I know you can do it Buffy xx Catherine (Pym)