I would assume that any of you who stumble upon this post are writers. Most blog readers, in my experience, are.
I don’t really consider myself to be a writer (in spite of what I’m currently doing). I have written and had published three books; I have written and not had published a further one – this one does not though count in my tally as it’s still suspect to some final tweaks. I’m sure I’ve said before that I haven’t yet achieved enough (in terms of success, confidence or comfort) to describe myself first and foremost as a writer.
I have many friends who do write as a way to stimulate their creativity, improve their writing and – of course – to empty their head from time to time. They often tell me I should do the same and so I’m taking their advice.
And so tonight I am wondering: do writers have particular times that they write? Is it spontaneous and ad-hoc, or do they make time to do it? With so much content on the internet I do often think about how much is contrived, how much is deliberate, and how much is written entirely for the writer’s own benefit, with little or no consideration as to who – if anyone – might read it. And I wonder if that has an effect on the words themselves; are they truer, more fluid or more inspired if the writer is free from convention, purpose and duty? Or are they more scrambled, untidy and unconsidered?
As a writer of stories more so than blogs, I have been thinking about finding the right time to write of late. I’m in the process of working on my next book and – for the first time – I have a deadline to work towards for the manuscript draft. I’ve always considered myself to be a person who works well under pressure: four years of intense undergraduate study and a complex job seem to reinforce that.
And yet, since writing is not my primary focus I don’t seem to be able to find the time to give it my full attention. Between working, home life, family, friends, my utterly adored pup… the looming pressure of a deadline doesn’t have the impact it used to when I was writing essays week in, week out under the watchful red-pen of university professors. In my youth (not that distant a memory) I was always ahead of the game. I planned my research, structured my time across my workload and began in earnest weeks ahead of the due date.
I have, for this next book, already begun true to form. I jhave character plans and a chapter build and a story map. However, I’ve been mulling over the central plot for more than a year now and so my early start has not produced results. Not many anyway.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the reason I am less than good at sitting down in front of the bright, blank screen is that I’m unispired. Perhaps I’m not gripped by my idea. Perhaps the final plot is still unresolved. Perhaps the plan is, in truth, a load of codswallop.
Perhaps self-doubt has creept in and one easy way to deal with that amid a busy lifestyle is to put it to the back of the mind.
Sometimes ideas go there to die. Sometimes they ferment and come back to the fore improved, amended or abandoned.
Let’s hope for the book’s sake it’s the former.
I do have faith in my thoughts and, when I can resolve the intricacies of the plot I do think that I’ll have a work that is presentable. Maybe the solution is not to wait for the right time to write – it is to make write time.
I don’t doubt this post will be one that’s lost to the ether, drifting around cyberspace for no one’s sake in particular. But, should any other writer out there happen upon it who has wrangled with the act of writing as I am, maybe you could provide some resolution to my wondering, and let me know I’m not alone.
That’s probably enough procrastination for the evening. Time to go sniff the fumes from those fermenting thoughts…