I’ve decided to stop pushing myself so hard to get the first draft finished. Although I’m worried that this could be a bit of a creative u-turn.
On one hand, I’ve got a lot going on in my life. I’m a single mother (to an incredibly engergetic and sparky six-year-old boy) and I work full time. I have a house that needs cleaning and decorating along the lines of the Forth Bridge. And then on top of that, I’m writing a novel, trying to keep posting in a blog – not to mention attempting to keep up with my professional development and fit in a little social life.
I’m beginning to think that somewhere along the line, I need to fit in a little bit of relaxing!
So I’ve decided to ease up with the novel and let my batteries re-charge. I’m not going to be giving it up, though – just not punishing myself to get it finished. I don’t think that forcing myself to try to meet deadlines is helping me in my writing. I’m getting bits done, but I’m not enjoying it as much as I should be.
Having said all that, there’s a little voice in the back of my head that’s telling me that I should keep going and not stop. That I’m giving up and I will regret it later.
It’s been mad the last few days. I had planned to write a post on Tuesday, and suddenly it’s Thursday. How did that happen?
I’ve been sticking to my two nights for writing and it works well – except for when I can’t concentrate, then it feels like I’ve wasted a whole time-slot.
However, I’ve not done too badly. On both Monday and Wednesday I wrote over 1000 words and I’m working through the story. As I’ve already said, my idea to just get the book written (no matter how) and then work on getting it right and refining it.
The concentration issues are easy to explain: I’m tired. There’s a lot going on at work, so I’m continually on the go, Josh is quite excitable in the evenings so I’m busy from early morning to quite late in the evening. It’s not really that surprising that I find it hard to concentrate on writing! In fact, looking at it that way, the thousand words a night are a positive victory!
Tried to write tonight, but just couldn’t. My mind felt fuzzy and unfocused – probably something to do with spending a day at work then coming home to an overtired and grouchy Josh. Not really conducive to getting into the right frame of mind for writing.
I don’t suppose the glass of wine in the evening that’s become a habit since my holiday has really helped either…
But I got some more words down, and better luck next time!
Talking about fuzzy brain – I just noticed that I saved my last post as a draft instead of publishing it. Doh!
I really wanted to get a good start back to writing after my break, but it was hard to get into writing again. Some of the distractions were external – Josh couldn’t sleep (I think he was thinking about going back to school) and the cat was still annoyed with me for putting her into kennels for a week.
But to be honest most of the distractions were created by me: I’d be sitting down to write quite happily, and then get this amazing urge to check on something completely random, like how much milk have I got left? Are there any more potatoes? Has anyone emailed me? Hey, I could grow runner beans in the garden next year. I wonder when I need to plant them? You get the idea…
I’m a great procrastinator, so I just jump at the chance to follow that internal voice that takes me away from what I’m supposed to be doing. A certain amount of procrastination is normal, but I do worry sometimes that I take it to extremes – especially when it comes to the Internet. (I mean, I’m at work at the moment, but there’s the Internet just a mouse-click away. Hey, why not write a blog post? Ahem.)
So I’ve decided to do my writing on my old laptop. This is because it won’t connect to the Internet, it’s too slow to run any interesting programs and the CD drive is broken so I can’t install anything else. It does recognise my memory stick, so I can just save my work onto that as I go (I don’t trust it enough to rely on having anything stored on its hard drive!)
Now all I need is an isolation tank and/or a will of iron to ignore all the other forms of displacement activity at my disposal.
Had a break from writing (and blogging) because I’ve been on holiday. All my good intentions went right out. I didn’t:
- do any research
- write my morning pages (there were no curtains in the cottage. I was woken by Josh as the sun rose. There’s a limit to what you can achieve in a cottage containing four adults and two young children. Morning Pages are not included. )
- read through what I’ve written so far and make a detailed character list.
But I did:
- eat too much (fresh baguette, butter and cheese!)
- drink too much (especially vodka orange one night in Vierzon. Ouch)
- swam every day (in the freezing pool at the cottage. Josh would jump in and gasp at the cold. His lips would be getting blue before he’d come out to warm up before getting back in. I had hoped to get him swimming by the end of the week, but at least his confidence has improved)
- visted two chateaux (Valencay and Chennonceau)
- broke my parents’ car (but it was ok in the end)
- read Tell No One.
I didn’t really expect to get anything done on the novel, but it’s going to be hard to get back into the swing of things again – especially the morning pages. I also came back to a mountain post which included a rejection for a short story I sent to Mslexia. I didn’t really expect it to be accepted, but that doesn’t help me to ignore the little nagging voice inside that tells me to give it all up now…
Off to do ironing and watch an episode of Danger Man to take my mind off writing and the french-bread-and-cheese in the evening habit I’ve developed.
Like, I want to finish getting the typing done so that I can start writing the next section. It’s a simple plan; what can possibly go wrong?
Well, for a start I got into an argument with Josh before bed – and it was a late bedtime anyway because I’d let him stay up late to finish watching a film. (Yes, that was entirely my own fault.)
Then I had to call my parents about next week’s holiday.
Then I found out that my brother’s feeling down. He’s in the toxic situation of having just split up with his girlfriend while still living in the same house. And, to top it all, she’s already seeing someone else and flaunting it.
No matter how important getting this typing done is to me, making sure my baby brother’s ok is always going to top it. Not sure I made him feel any better, but I’ve offered him my house for the week I’m on holiday if he wants it.
So now, I’ve typed about 50 words, and my eyes are so tired I can hardly see the screen.
It’s a times like this that I think, ‘why didn’t I do the washing up straight after tea instead of leaving it?!’ That’s something to look forward to…
Right: 15 more minutes typing up, then I’ll tackle the washing up.
I’m still typing up my handwritten sections but I’m determined that I’m going to get it finished by the end of the week. In some ways it’s good: it doesn’t matter if I’m a bit tired or if Josh is awake until late and keeps coming in to speak to me because typing up is fairly easy-going on the mind. You can start and stop every five minutes and it doesn’t take too long to get back into the swing of it.
And very boring. I wish that I’d just typed it straight in and got it over with! I’ll know for next time.
I’m going on holiday next week, so I won’t be getting any writing done then. I’m going to be doing some research (I hope): CWRD Moseley’s Reach – a brief history; Trevor Bevis – Water, water everywhere: The draining of the fens and Joan Lennon – The Wicket Chronicles. The last one is worrying me slightly as it’s a children’s novel set in the fens during the middle ages, which sounds horribly familiar. I mean, that’s my idea! Ho hum.
Oh – and I’m back to the old Harry Potter series (number 5, The Order of the Phoenix). I came into the living room and found Josh sitting in the middle of a pile of the Harry Potter books. ‘What you up to?’ I asked. ‘I’m reading them to myself,’ he said, and sat studiously looking at the pages for ages while I washed up. Then he said, ‘Can you read me the next Harry Potter book?’
‘But I thought you’d had enough for a while?’
‘I had, but now I really miss Harry.’ And how could I refuse that? I’m sure a lot of these later books will go over his head, but he seems to be enjoying them.
If only the chapters weren’t so long!