Tuesday, 1 September 2015

When things don't feel good any more...

I haven't blogged much recently. Things - generally - have stalled on the writing front.

It's not that I don't want to get on with projects or post blogs - far from it! But there are several things on the writing front that are out of my hands at the moment and I'm playing the waiting game. Which seems to be sapping my writing energy, big time.

It's affected King Stone pretty badly. As you know, I'm working through the first draft, editing and filling it out. I was blasting along quite merrily, getting a chapter done a day, and then...

The pace slowed. It felt like I was wading through treacle and - I admit - I let it get the better of me. Combined with the things that are out of my hands, everything simply...stopped.

Talking sternly to myself didn't help. I mean, I'm not going to move forward if I allow myself a 'meh' moment...or day...or week, as it finally ended up being. I was getting crosser and more frustrated by the day.

Plus it's coming up to York and the Writer's Workshop Festival of Writing. For some reason, I don't feel excited about it this year. I only entered one competition (which I stand no chance of getting picked for, but hey, it was the only one I had something I could submit); I couldn't bear the thought of not being picked for anything.

(Fellow authors will recognise this syndrome - hoping like mad that this year will be your year in the competitions, followed by crushing disappointment and horrid jealousy when it proves not to be.)

I know it'll be great once I'm in York - I'm booked into some fab workshops, have 1-2-1's with two wonderful book doctors and I'll meet lots of Cloudies, but it doesn't seem to hold quite the same magic when the writing's not going well. (As usual, blogs will follow... I'm taking the laptop with me this year, so you might even get a couple over the course of the weekend itself.)

Having said that, in literally the last couple of days, things have begun moving again - on King Stone at least. I was bemoaning to an author friend how I could not get past a scene.

"Could be your character doesn't want to go where you're sending her?" she said.

"Hmm...could be. She certainly doesn't want to go to bed!" says I.

"My character sometimes she doesn't want to do something, so I ask her what she wants to do instead. I write a scene talking to her and she usually comes up with something better. And yes, it sounds crazy, but it works for me!"

So I tried it. It does sound mad, (feels it, too, the first time you try it!) but somehow your subconscious kicks in and supplies the answer your gut was trying to provide all along. I asked my character why she wouldn't go to bed after a traumatic experience, and she told me EXACTLY why she couldn't afford to sleep - she had to keep travelling to stay one step ahead of the baddie! Since then, I've rewritten a large chunk of the chapter and only need to add a short section at the end before signing it off as official second draft material.

This post isn't all doom and gloom then. Thank goodness! I shall just have to be patient with respect to the other projects - and trust that they'll start moving again at the right time...


  1. Wholly understand, Squidgers. With the kids being off for six weeks, I've had to put the prospect of writing out of my head. As a consequence, now that I sit down, my mind is totally blank, like it's punishing me for not writing by not allowing me to write. Hopefully over the nest week or so, it will lift. Good luck at York and hope you are back to writing soon x

    1. Aw, thanks, Abi. Funnily enough, during the hols themselves I was getting lots of time as my kids are a bit older and doing things I can't help them with (Mr Squidge, over to you!). I think part of it was I had a too-long break, so couldn't kickstart myself again.

      I bet as soon as we get back into the school routine, we'll both get back into it.x