Writing Journal: The Struggle to Write

Writing Journal: The Struggle to Write

This weekend’s writing sessions were very hard. I spent too much time trying to think my way back into the story.

That’s the trouble with writing just at weekends, the five day gaps between sessions clutter up with work, family and other commitments, clambering across my exhausted mind like a babble of oblivious toddlers. Or an invasion of impetuous orcs. Or a slither of dark shadows. See, it’s easy to be distracted.

Anyway, I’ve decided to write some smaller posts as well as the usual ‘pillar’ posts. I’ve had a very positive reaction to the longish and ongoing pieces on Modernism, William Blake etc but I can see the need for some shorter pieces in between.

So this is the first one. It was obvious what to write this week. I had a so much trouble putting anything worthwhile onto the computer, let alone string together some meaningful sentences.

At the moment I’m trying to finish a novella called The Graveyard Planet. It’s a space-opera fantasy set in the same world as various short  stories and a main novel (Echoes in Time) which are almost ready to be edited.

 Method

Here’s what I set out to do every Saturday and Sunday morning.

  • Make some coffee and think about the end of the last writing session.
  • Go to my study (pictured above).
  • Open up the software (I use Scrivener, it’s great).
  • While Scrivener opens, find some music on iTunes or Spotify to block out all other sounds
  • Read the last paragraph and any planning notes I’ve left myself.
  • Ignore any chat, calls, device notifications.
  • Write 1000 words.
  • Plan the start of the next session in a few short phrases.

Easy.

Oh no it isn’t!

 Madness

 This week it went something like this:

  • Made coffee, sat down, opened software and music.
  • Ignored the texts from son at university.
  • Started to read last paragraph and notes.
  • Felt guilty. Replied to son.
  • Read last paragraph again.
  • Son replies. Twice. Then rings.
  • Read last paragraph again.
  • Remembered an old novel I wrote years ago. Missing some text, but have printouts. It’s not very good. Will have to rewrite but not this year. Try to remember where it is.
  • Read last paragraph again.
  • Shopping delivery arrives. Help bring in the shopping.
  • Read last paragraph again.
  • Loving daughter is fed up and comes in for a chat.
  • Look at Twitter. Talk to friends
  • Read last paragraph again.
  • Resort to chocolate and type a line edit in last paragraph.
  • Son texts. Needs help. Try to help. He rings. Try to help.
  • Look at Twitter. Talk to friends
  • Look at Facebook. Talk to friends.
  • Worrying about my writing voice. Seems to have become too simple, too direct.
  • Coffee finished. Route 1 method to start writing now drying at the bottom of the mug.
  • Music beginning to irritate me. Seek something that shuts out sounds, rather than demands attention. Discover Swedish band Katatonia is not the Welsh band, of the same name, of my youth. Try them out. Thank you Spotify. This helps me start.
  • Read last paragraph again.
  • Son begin to use Spotify so it turns off my connection. Choose music from iTunes. Look up artist biog on internet.
  • Look at Twitter. Talk to friends.
  • Resort to Chocolate. Go Downstairs.
  • Decide to do some gardening.
  • Make more coffee.
  • Go back upstairs.
  • Look at Twitter. Talk to friends
  • Worry that the background of my blog looks so poor on the iPad. Try to fix it.
  • Look idly at the images on my wall.
  • Look idly at the LPs behind me.
  • Look idly at the books on my right.
  • Look at my lovely sidelamp (I made it years ago from a found root in the garden). Recall years of designing inappropriate lampshades.
  • Listen to mumblings from next-door neighbours.
  • Worry that the story is not dark enough, interesting enough, too convoluted, too simple.
  • Phone battery beeps. Take it to another room to recharge.
  • Sit down again.
  • 90 minutes have passed. I’ve written precisely 10 words. Threads of concentration now a twisted wreck.
  • Shout at myself. Mumbling neighbours go quiet.
  • Decide to stop worrying about grammar and tense (writer’s joke, haha!)
  • Remember an idea from yesterday and write solidly for 30 minutes.
  • Finish 1100 words. Back-up and escape the room.

So, it was a painful journey.

Writing Tips

I have loads of wise and experienced friends on Twitter and through this blog, many of whom have some truly fantastic advice which I use frequently and pass on to others as much as possible.

Here are some writing and book marketing links that have helped me this week:

If any of  this sounds familiar or has been useful, I’d be interested to here. Please comment below!