A few posts back I was writhing with writer’s cramp – unable to work out what I was doing wrong, and so not doing anything. Now I am more than 50,000 words along in the novel I had been trying to get my head around for months, and just for today thinking it is not tooooooo bad.
Probably not surprisingly, while I am writing I go on and off the book I am working on. Some of the time I think it is terrible. Other times I think it is ok. When I finally get it out there, I think it is pretty good actually. By then I’ll have pored over it quite a number of times, tinkering, massaging, cutting, adding, rewriting, hating myself, loving same, jumping up and down in front of the PC, rolling about on the floor moaning, smiling at my cleverness, laughing at my incompetence…the usual things a writer does in other words.
Anyway this one is both a departure for me and treading some old ground. The departure part is terrifying because it’s new to me and I am very unsure about it. The other part is terrifying because I don’t want to put readers off and for them to think that this is just all I can do. It’s not, and it just happened this way. It’s a challenge too – to do something that is not entirely unlike a book I’ve written in the past that is nonetheless fresh and absorbing.
Writers are meant to “write what they know”. It’s good advice, and most of my books have come out of my interests – people, ideas, and events I already knew about or would have found out about anyway. This is slightly different in that I did research in a few areas precisely because I wanted to put things from them into this book. It is time-consuming to do this and requires a kind of self-discipline that is different from writing or reading for pleasure: reading for knowledge is not always for pleasure and can involve wading through seemingly endless swamps composed of the most appalling sludge, fantasising desperately about dry ground. Sometimes of course it is fun.
Well, I am not at all sure that all that was really as useful as I was telling myself while enjoying the cold wet muck running into my gumboots. But I have done it, and there will be things I will do more yet. I would like, if it is at all possible, to get Bela Lugosi into my new book along with the Queen and her eldest son, along with the rest of them.
Back into it.
Thanks for reading.