With the evenings already beginning to draw in, the wind gently buffeting the house and the rain (oh, the rain) streaming steadily down, one would think it was a day designed for writing. It is August, yes, but a small fire is burning merrily in the hearth and it’s cosy with a capital ‘C’.
The problem is – writing doesn’t always necessarily want to come, even when conditions are as perfect as this. A day for reading, then, and perhaps sketching out a few words later. This will be inspiring and a flurry of writing will follow!
Well, this is sort of how my planned writing day panned out. A few pages were written, yes, some reading was done, but really, the results were not as anticipated. And even reading great stories can sometimes put you off picking up that pen (yes, I’m still physically writing everything before I type it all up!), as you instantly compare your efforts with the book you’ve just put down and then think – maybe later.
However, ‘maybe later’ can easily become a downward slope to writing less and less and soon not at all, so that’s just not an option for me. Besides, writing is fun, even when you don’t always know where it’s leading. In fact, in my case, I prefer it when I don’t know what’s going to happen. I like to follow the pen and edit later. I finished a short story last week (I say finished, but you know I mean the first, written draft…) and when I was typing it up, it changed along the way. A lot. When I re-read it a couple of days later, it changed a bit more and a bit more… I should also add that in my notebook, the final three pages were completely scrapped when I was initially typing it up, as a better ending came to me as I was keying it in. And… it may change again. I love writing, but I also love editing, as the bones of the story are there, but you get to deconstruct them or create new threads, flesh things out and see the story come to life.
So, today, when I wrote a few pages of my next story, I had a rough idea of the framework, but no real idea yet of what would unfold. I have no doubt ideas will come to me while I’m out walking my dog this week, and also, when I’m writing and then editing it.
I think the point is not to panic, but as many another writer would probably also say – to just pick up the pen, sit at the computer and write something. There’ll be days when you won’t write much, or indeed, much of any worth, but there’ll always be something good to come of it.
A – you’ll have written something (and writers write, they don’t just talk about it)
B – you might get the seed of another, better idea from your scribbles
C – you may realise this idea isn’t working, and this is good – no point flogging a dead horse
D – it’s practice for the good stuff – which WILL come
Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts after a productive(ish) day which I’d thought was destined for greater things. But writing will come when it will come and for me, it’s more often during those odd times of the day, when you go to do something else and pick up a pen instead. When you stand up to go to bed but then decide to flick through your notes and scribble just a few sentences to make yourself feel as if you’d achieved some writing that day… and then end up scribbling into the wee hours.
That’s just how writing goes…