Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If you want something done...

I finished the second draft of Chapter 7 tonight. It's the chapter where Lara Brand travels to Grisandole and searches for the Incanto. It's quite a fun chapter with a few surprises and a gruesome twist. But that's not what I want to talk about tonight. I thought I'd write a few comments on writing a book when you've got a full time job and a young family. It sounds like a recipe for frustration and fatigue, if not disaster, but I'd like to comment on why it needn't be this way.

I think the first thing I got right was I incorporated the novel-writing process into a 'system'. By that I mean that writing Caliban's End is simply part of what I do. Rather than getting shitty when something interrupts my writing (the twins fighting for example), I accept that as part of a system that allows me to write with a certain amount of colour and movement.

I'm not sure I could write full time. I admire those who can but I think I would get exhausted. However, by making writing something I do when the kids are asleep, or during lunchtimes at work, it means that each writing experience is a positive one - it's a break from the routine of the day.

I think the other thing that I have found works for me is the realisation that you actually can stop writing to attend to nappies, a child's bad dream or to answer a phone call about someone's computer problem. I don't think my writing is so perfect that I can't leave it for five minutes. Often I find that a little break can help with my focus on the narrative and the clarity of my expression. If I come across an idea that is too good to leave, I just jot it down and play around with it in my head as I attend to less literary matters.

Perhaps more established writers would disagree, but I do not see writing as a sacred act. It's just part of my system. I would be guilty of hubris to think that my writing is so important, the world must stop spinning whilst I commit my ideas to paper. And I wouldn't want it to stop anyway. If time slowed down to accommodate me, I think I would slow down too.

I know this introspection may seem like a great big pile of shite to some, but it works for me.

Next blog post: Caliban's End, The Motion Picture

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