Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Spin me out

I’m baaaack. Guess I should explain the absence: I’ve had a recurrence of vertigo and this makes it hard to read and write so I’ve been reserving the good spells for essentials like my contracted work and my WIP. You know, that ‘you only have so many hours in the day and you can’t do everything’ issue. With a twist. Or should that be spin?

I’ve still got vertigo (it’s benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – try that as a tongue twister if you dare) but it’s decreasing in severity and I’m getting longer good spells. Having some treatment, hopefully it will improve. But enough of the boring stuff, moving on.

My manuscript remains in the ‘what was I thinking?’ zone but I’m pushing forwards and making words. All writers seem to go through this with every manuscript they write; the ideas that had you chortling with glee when you outlined them now just seem really, well, dull. But as my CP said to me this morning, if it was a good idea before it probably still is and will be recognisably so again. Eventually.

Speaking of CPs – let me finish this entry with congratulations for two of mine on their recent sales. Tracey O’hara and Erica Hayes, take a bow. You rock.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I'm just not that into it

So I’m back writing again, sort of (a story too boring to share) but I’m just not into my current manuscript right now.

This makes me feel bad. Really bad. I love this story, but I’m no longer feeling it.

However, a friend emailed this morning to confess she’s having the same issue with her work in progress, and it’s making her feel bad. Guilty. Really, I think I should start a self-flagellation club for writers. Hair shirt, anyone?

As usual, though, I digress. Ahem.

Anyway it made me realise there are always times when we lose the love for what we’re working on. We have all these real-life demands and distractions and we also have a heap of new ideas dancing around on the edge of our awareness; nice, shiny, ideas. Mmm, fresh.

Ideas are easy. Fun. Stringing enough of them together, mulling over how to polish their raw potential so they really sparkle, that’s harder. It’s work. Sometimes it’s fun—so much fun it’s a wonder it isn’t illegal—but at other times it’s just work. Making words.

But making words eventually makes a story, and it’s funny how the tarnish slowly rubs off as you get closer to that magic combination of words, “The End.”

So I’m making words and hanging on to my faith that the shine will return. I’m resisting the deceptive siren song of those flirty new ideas throwing off gaudy blue and purple sparks in my peripheral vision.

I’m not taking ideas right now. I’m making words.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Writers procrastinate. It’s like a natural law. But a rightful fear of procrastinating can lead to a whole new set of problems.

I’ve admitted here (and elsewhere) that I haven’t been writing lately, and one of my crit partners just gave me a smack upside the head for procrastinating over my WIP. There’ve been times in the past when she would have—has—been correct, but not this time.

Just as I know when I’m putting writing off, I do know now when I’m not. But it’s a tough call. Just as writers seem to always be waiting for that person to say their story sucks, I think we are also very quick to accuse ourselves of wasting time or making mistakes. I guess it follows.

But I know as a writer I need time to think. To speculate. To consider all the ‘what ifs’ and ruminate on character motivations, possible plot lines, structure, ramifications and permutations. Funnily enough, before I became so focused on writing as a career I spent a lot more time thinking and fantasising and making stuff up. Dreaming.

At the recent RWA conference in Melbourne, Marion Lennox stressed the importance of giving yourself time to dream, to daydream, to keep the stories and the writing flowing.

For me this daydreaming has always been the time when I settle somewhere and let my mind just sort of hum along. The system’s powered up but I haven’t given it anything to work on, and I’m waiting for the ideas and thoughts to come. And when they come, I let them.

I miss that. I haven’t carved out the time and place to do it lately, and it wasn’t until Ms Lennox mentioned it that I even realised it. A big thank you to her.

Not only has my writing suffered for lack of this dreaming time, but I have too.

So no, I’m not procrastinating, I’m thinking. I’ve a few little changes in mind to the outline of my story, and I’m ruminating right now.

But if I’m still thinking about it in two weeks, feel free to give me that smack.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oh the chaos

I’m in the middle of moving my office from a spare room (an oxymoron, as the room was really needed for about three other things even before I annexed it as a work space) into a purpose-built building. The new space is awesome, and I’m sitting in my new office writing this. I love it, I’ve room for everything.

Well, eventually.

At the moment, it’s chaos. I have stuff everywhere, all the files, paper, stationery, periodicals, gadgets and office detritus still to be sorted and stored. I’ve unearthed the essentials—laptop, phone, post-its, pens—and bought some plants and now I just don’t want to know about the crates and piles of miscellanea. I’ll get to them. I will.

But even the clutter and the silent reproach of the unsorted crates can’t take away the happiness of having this place to work. A place to write. I am grateful to have it and I reckon in about three months everything will be sorted and the knock-on effect will be bliss—more space in the house, less clutter, less time spent trying to find things.

So we will progress from chaos to bliss. If only I didn’t have to get past those damn crates to get there.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What doesn't get done

Well, I can't blame lack of services on this absence. I've been busy and dealing with stuff, sure, but that's normal, really, isn't it? It comes down to not carving out the time necessary for ze blog.

But as there are only the standard set of 24 in the day, something is always going to drop to the bottom of the pile and get bumped. This week, that's been blogging. Last week it was writing.

Come to think of it, writing's getting bumped this week too.

But that's not as bad as it sounds. I may not be putting words down, but I'm laying the groundwork. Doing the brain time, making sure the pieces are going to fit. I've had a tendency to rush (skimp, anyone?) that part before, which means a lot of rewriting later. Rewriting is fun when you're trying to make the story really shine; not so fun when you're digging yourself out of holes of your own making.

It's hard for me to take the time to think, to dream, to run through all those 'what ifs?'. It feels like procrastination. And of course, the danger is that sometimes it will be.

But I wouldn't paint a room without prepping it first, and my WIP is no different. I have to trust myself to prep it and then write it.

So I'll finish up here. It's one way to carve out some time today.