As I posted earlier, I was having a really hard time writing a story I’ve been working on for a week.
Some of it was external (or rather, internal: physical fatigue and mental fog caused by things I can point at), but that doesn’t matter. I still have to work. When my kids were small I didn’t get to not feed them just because I felt crappy. When I had a paying job and I was bored, I couldn’t just sit there and stare into space.
Now I work for myself. So I had to find a way to, um, work.
I had spent far too long looking for distraction in the food cupboards and on news sites and the dreaded Facebook. I was starting to feel sick. So I broke out my e-edition of Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
I got as far as the part where the author talks about stepping away from the computer screen when it hit me: that was exactly what I needed to do today.
I copied out, by hand, in my nice fountain pen, the opening 359 words of the story I was working on. I consulted my handwritten notes. I dragged some loose leaf lined paper on to my desk and wrote like I was sitting in the exam hall during my Higher English exam 2. Before I started to write, I blocked out some things I knew I wanted my heroine to do (and why) and then I began to write. I wrote until I was starting to get stale (around 1000 words later). And then I typed it up.
And tomorrow I know what comes next. I have notes about why she’s doing all this, and a sense of how long I can let her roam the page before I have to bring things to a head.
I think I’ll walk down to my shared office space early tomorrow morning, with my notebooks, my ipad and my new bluetooth headphones, and see how far I can move things on.
I’m fighting back. Because what else am I going to do? Give up? Been there, done that., learned that it doesn’t help.
Seriously, read the book,read the book though. It’s full of good stuff.
- Yes, I’m betraying my British origins. Analogue and catalogue will never look right to me without the ‘ue’. Deal. ↩
- I don’t remember any teacher ever teaching us about creative writing while at school. We studied Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas and John Steinbeck and bloody bloody Keats — the same one poem two years in a row — but no-one ever talked to us about composition. And yet it was in every exam. Luckily I loved it, but since moving to the States, where they are teaching my kids about story structure in elementary school, I do find it odd that I never heard a thing in school about ‘rising action’ vs. ‘the middle’ or ‘climax’ vs. ‘the end’. Maybe it was a good thing. Maybe the fact that I only ever learned from masters (i.e. those writers I enjoyed reading) has affected my writing more than the pronouncements of a provincial teacher in their 20s every could have. Still odd, though. ↩