Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mushy Brain Days

As I’ve now started work on my second novel, I realise that there are some days when I sit down to write that I could carry on for hour upon hour.  The storyline has written itself and is desperate to get itself out of my head and on to the laptop.  Some nights I have to force myself to stop and go to bed or I would find myself tippy-tapping into the wee small hours.

These are the days I love.  The days I’ve learnt to nurture and cherish.

Because not every day is like that.

There are the days when my brain feels like treacle, words won’t put themselves in order, characters won’t behave and as for the plot - forget it!

I used to panic when I had these days - what if I’d lost the knack and it never came back to me?  But of course the more you panic the more damage you do - beating yourself up never helps to produce more words.

So I quite simply accepted that there are days when it flows and days when it doesn’t - the ‘Bunged-Up Days’.  Once I’d had my epiphany, I realised the importance of making the most of the ‘Flowing Days’ because I never know when I’ll hit the next blip.

I guess I was lucky writing the Misfit Diary because I rarely had a day that I struggled.  It was written in three months but then, of course, took many months of editing and re-writing - it really felt as if it wrote itself and I was just a channel for it.

My next novel isn’t a diary and is slightly weightier in characters and plot, so there are times when I just find the whole process quite daunting.  A book is a huge amount of work.  How did I ever write one in the first place?  The trouble is, once you’ve been bitten by the bug, there’s no getting away from it.

So when I hit the ‘Bunged-Up Days’ what do I do?  If any of you writers out there can identify with some of these diversionary tactics, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know - I’m sure I’m not the only one.

1.. Sit at laptop and look out of window.  Mmm, nice pigeon.
2  Hover fingers over keyboard and wait for the ‘Writing Fairy’ to visit.
3  Look up to see if pigeon has gone yet.
4  Realise coffee is cold and make way to kettle.
5  Clean work surface - this always makes me feel virtuous.
6  Take coffee back to laptop and hover hands again.
7  Type a line, re-read it, delete.
8  Realise coffee is no good without a bar of chocolate.
9  Go to cupboard to get chocolate and feed cat while there.
10  Talk to cat.
11  Feed other cat.
12  Talk to other cat.
13  Return to laptop and find that ‘Writing Fairy’ is still not visiting.
14  Go to loo for inspiration and change of scenery.
15  Wander the house aimlessly, scratching head and cursing.
16  Decide to put some washing on.
17  Go through notes to see if they deliver any clues as to what the hell I should be doing.
18  Start a very intricate doodle and then realise that half of it covers my notes for chapter three.
19  Check Twitter for messages.  Then Facebook.  Then Amazon sales.  Then Hotmail.
20  Realise that today is just not my day!

Come on writers, please, tell me that you too have days like this and keep me company.  Must dash now as I truly believe that Chapter three is calling - straight after I’ve made a cup of coffee!

‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is a tale of not belonging.  Check it out on Amazon and read my reviews too.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

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