I have no idea what to write about today, so I guess I will write about writing, and more to the point, the fact that I have worked so hard at my writing, not just over the past year with my next novel, but over the two decades since I decided that I did not want to go to meet my maker never having tried to get something published. It’s been a long journey from those early days when I jumped for joy to get an article or essay published, through the excitement of being asked to write on assignment for a couple of journals, to the point where I knew I had a story that I wanted to tell in a novel. Ten novels later, and one in the hopper, I feel I need a rest. As the saying goes: Fat Chance! But I will take a rest where I can.
I’ve always believed that, as a writer, I should write every day, even when I’m not working on a specific project – and I’ve done that ever since I can remember. Keeping at the writing even when there’s no actual project in hand is a bit like turning over the engine when there’s nowhere to go – you want to know the oil’s reaching the right places and that the car is still tuned up, ready. But lately I threw in the towel on that one, trusting that when it comes time for me to knuckle down to writing the next novel (around January 1st – I like to start a book at the beginning, so to speak), the vehicle of creativity will spark and everything I have ever learned about writing will be brought in to support the story I want to tell. Fingers crossed.
There are writers who will tell you, in holier than thou terms, that even when sick, they will write a few paragraphs. It’s essential, we are told, not to let yourself go, if you want to be a good writer. I’m darn sure my dentist doesn’t feel the need to drill out a few fillings when she takes a break, or my hairdresser snip away at some long hair, just to keep her hand in. So the heck with it – next week the copyedits for my next book will arrive to be checked (in a scary five days to meet a deadline), after which I probably will write nothing until after the holidays, except the odd post here on Naked Authors. That’s it. I’m giving my writing hand a rest because, you know, I’m tired. Done in. The well needs to be filled full again and it’s not as if I don’t have lots of things to do that I usually don’t have time for. Cleaning the house comes to mind.
Having said all that, a new novel has to be started on January 1st and in preparation I have a lot of background research to do, which means I’ll be reading through all manner of material, making notes and scribbling a few lines on a scene here and paragraph of dialogue there. And I’ll be catching up with my recreational reading too. A bit like the hairdresser sharpening her scissors.
But for now, I really don’t want to write. I don’t want to think I have to do X amount of words in a day. I want to take my break from that part of being a writer – you know, the actual writing part.