Sunday, 4 August 2013

Au revoir mon ami le weekend!


Okay, so another weekend slips by like quicksilver. Why is that, when the working week, if you’re in a boring job like I am, crawls by so painfully slowly? One of life’s mysteries. And it can be very frustrating from the point of view of my wanting to write.

Having to trudge off to ‘the 9-5’ is a cumbersome chore when I want to be back at home with my keyboard, my online dictionary and my opened-up document containing my latest unfolding tale of sexual wonder and intrigue.

In a recent period of unemployment my writing hurtled ahead. Being able to wake fresh and latch energetically onto the computer for hours on end resulted in my getting a lot of, hopefully, good quality writing done. Then it slowed to a snails pace when I found another job and had to eek out some small daily progress around the job hours, often in the evening when my mind was fuzzy and inert with tiredness.

Being in the groove is important to me when writing. Day to day my mind, my imagination, is with the story. I’m trying work out if the pacing of a particular scene is correct for its position in the narrative as a whole; or I’m fathoming a plot development’s impact on a certain character; or I’m wondering how I can achieve a fluid transition between scenes. It’s all going on, whether I’m at my computer or not. But if I can write all morning each day then, generally speaking, it pours out onto the page and progress is swift. As has been the case over the weekend, thankfully. Otherwise, I have to live in a daily creative limbo between all too brief glimpses of the open document; a crushing state of stasis until I can let the creative juices permeate the page again.

Although I have to admit that having to slow down production can sometimes be advantageous. For example, if I’m struggling to find a solution to a plotting problem then having the time to coast a few days without having to develop a scene can be helpful. Or even, as I’ve known occasionally, if I think I know all about a scene and feel ready to whisk it off in full flow but then, because I have to wait and write it very slowly in little bits over a much longer period of time, I discover that actually there was more to uncover in the scene than I had realised, and allowing it to marinate, allowing the flavours to infuse my mind for longer, has resulted, I feel, in more sensitive and fuller writing, perhaps even more complex storytelling. I’ve known that a few times. And it’s great, a kind of serendipity via frustration. Because, make no mistake about it, being unable to write for the hours I want to is extremely frustrating. But I suppose the sheer gritty discipline of refusing to let the process grind to a halt produces its own variety of fruit too.

So, something positive having been gleaned from the bare fields of the drudgery of the 9-5, may we assume my gripe is over and done with?

No, not really. All I really want to do is wake up and write.

However, unless I win the lottery or sell a whole lot more books, I’ll just have to keep coping with the frustration, like lots of other people. Yes, another week ahead! Just a few last hours of the fleeting sweetness of the weekend remaining. Unsurprisingly, I always struggle to have anything even remotely close to an early night on a Sunday.

But never mind. I’ve had a good, refreshing gripe about it. Thanks for listening. I somehow feel better for that, and now, I’m happy to report, I’m actually looking forward to having a great week, and to getting lots of things done, including somehow cramming in plenty of writing here and there. Hope you have a great week too!

Au revoir mon ami le weekend! (Why do I love speaking French even when completely unnecessary? Je ne sais pas. Another of life's mysteries!)

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