I’m not really sure how things work for other people, but for me transitions consist of a subconscious ripening of an idea and then it’s eventual maturity into action. There’s a moment when it all clicks into place and really I don’t have to think about what I need to do or what the next logical step is because by then my feet are already following that path.
You could say its the lazy way and well… you’d be right. There is an element of not taking responsibility for ones actions but really its my attempt at not rushing things and always striving to follow my heart. But yes lazy.
It took me by surprise when one such seminal moment took place on a rainy Thursday in a church room. Attempting to ignore the clucking gulls of the WI and the church Choir competing for oxygen in various rooms around the imposing stone building that we lovingly call Craggy Island, while Nick Triplow walked us through his writing history and process.
Though the idea for my novel originated a long long time ago in a town far far from here – It was just that an idea and when the actual task of writing needed to start I couldn’t manage it. I stopped after less than about 5k words and it died a death. Yet I did day-dream about it, about the characters what they were doing, and why.
A last minute opportunity to attend a creative writing course (what would i have done if the French class hadn’t been full??) was the catalyst and I started writing in earnest last autumn.
Things went well to start with. I wrote about 3 – 4 hours a day. I wrote on the train on my mobile. I jotted in the Tesco checkout queue on the back of my shopping list. I wrote ideas while on the bus. I would wake in the middle of the night having solved a major plot point and have to write it down before it evaporated. I wrote at the dinner table I wrote at my desk. Flying high on years of suppressed ideas I wrote – a lot.
And as all things must this slowly started to slow and then subside. I’m at around 70k + now and its been a slow couple of months. I have started to edit… a bit. This is vital to any book, but especially to me. Due to the way / place i wrote most of the work is utterly unedited and lacks punctuation, lay out and even grammar. Don’t even get me started on the *creative* spelling. Yet editing is not exciting and doesn’t get me all motivated to start the laptop up. In fact I had only started to edit so that i didnt drop the novel completely. I want to finish it but I look around and every book seems to be a 200k word mammoth. Frankly I am not sure I have that in me. My pathetic 70k + unedited words seems like a joke. One i’d rather not tell in public – I don’t like tumbleweed.
On Thursday listening to Nick talk about Frank’s Wild Years, how long it took to do, how many words he wrote and how many edits he did made something click for me. I’m not going to be the next GRR Martin or JK Rowling. But I could finish this work and make it the best that it can be.
That’s what really clicked for me – the question “What are you waiting for?” because I have nothing to wait for. So I have started writing again. Or more to the point I have started to finish. I’ve accepted that its done and that the really hard part starts here. I’m back to pushing myself to start setting goals and deadlines and plotting a strategy of next steps. It needs very little writing to finish it, hundreds not thousands of words but in essence I’m done.
And then I need to sharpen my pen and slash it to bits. Cut out the slack and sew it back up again, tighter and firmer.
Wish me luck.