The weird way writing works.

I’m one of those writers who takes a very long time to get anywhere. I had the first thought about my current work-in-progress way back in 2003. I didn’t put a pen to paper till 2007 and 2 years down the line, have still only managed to get half of what’s in my head, out. In my defence, I have been busy with other things – child-raising, working, and latterly studying for my Creative Writing Diploma – but I had hoped to have at least finished the outline draft by now.

Ah well, it didn’t happen, so I decided I’d go for it in the summer. Last summer was particularly productive and I thought, in my naivety, it would be the same again. Except…it wasn’t. My trusty Moleskine was not completely empty by the end of our time in Tenby, but all I managed was a bit of a chapter. And every time I tried to sit and write, I just couldn’t. In fact, any time I tried to do anything at all, I just couldn’t. So in the end, I decided that it was nature’s way of telling me to take a break.

So, I have. And though I’ve gradually started picking up on my other commitments, my lack of writing has gone on, and on, and on. Every time I’ve thought about my 1943 characters I just haven’t been able to progress their story. Even though I know the general arc, I can’t seem to get down to particulars. Finally, a week ago, I typed up and edited that pathetic remnant of a chapter, pretty crap but at least it’s something. Yesterday, I forced myself to finish that and start another one. Most of it was even worse quality, but suddenly, just before bed-time, out of nowhere, I started putting down some dialogue that felt like it might, perhaps, be worth preserving.

And then in the wee small hours my brain started whirring, and I began to think – if she does that, he’ll do this, and that’s why that person is saying such and such, and the other one is behaving in that way…And, suddenly, I feel I might just be getting started again. So, if I can just finish this section, and then one more, I’ve nearly completed the whole thing… Well, the first terrible draft that no-one will see.

That’s when the real work begins.


Little poem

Not a poet really, but poems are easy to blog. This came out of another of Jenny Lewis’s wonderful poetry classes. A response to a picture (I leave you to guess what of)

CD collection.

This is all that is left –
half the names gone, the hard edges
blurred by the white light of the lamp.

Our music has left the room.
Elvis has left the room.
You have left the room.

All I have are hard edges,
a carved up half-life.
Nothing worth saving is left