Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

A sulky readhead stamps her feet January 25, 2009

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 2:00 pm
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Ack! Why do I go around in circles and just come back to the same place over and over? I think I’ve found a new road map to get me where I want to be, get excited, then here I am, back again at this place of not writing and wondering why the hell I want to write.

I made myself laugh looking back at my last post and the fab resolution to finish the first draft of the current story by the end of January. With six days to go, I have about 16,000 words of story. Most of which are false starts. I had to give up keeping track of total word count. It got meaningless when I knew that the bulk of it was backstory  and three goes at Chapter One, that aren’t going to be in the finished version. The good news is, I have the story very strongly plotted out, and it could work . The bad news is, I’ve written nothing on it for the last two weeks. Not a word. No writing at all, for fourteen, maybe fifteen days.

Surely if I really wanted it, I’d do it, right?

I can make plenty of excuses. There’s the new job that fries my brain and exhausts me so I arrive home without the mental capacity to do anything more challenging than make dinner, pour a glass of wine, then sit down at the computer to feed my ebay addiction.

Or I can psychoanalyse myself. So many lovely psychological reasons not to write! It’s my fear of failure, of submittimg and being rejected. Or its my fear of success- if I do get asked for a full, the pressure is really on.

The latest one I realised today, is that my creativity does not function well when I am angry.  I am soooooo resentful that my husband was made redundant and can’t find another job so is home all day, while I’m out working my ass off  to pay the bills when I want to be home writing. 

I discovered this not very grown up part of my mind is throwing a tantrum and saying , “Well, if I can’t stay home all day and play, I’m not doing anything. You can’t make me get up earlier and write for an hour before work. You can’t make me write in the lunch break (what lunch break, anyway?) You can’t make me write last thing at night before going to sleep. I’m not gonna, and you can’t make me. Naaaaah!” Accompanied by poking out my tongue at myself and some serious foot stamping. My hair colour may mostly come out of a bottle now, but I’m still a natural redhead in my soul. And even more than the temper, one thing redheads are is stubborn. Really stubborn. Once we make our mind up to something, that’s it.

Useful to know this stuff, but it just boils down to more excuses. What makes a writer isn’t loads of great ideas. Got em, sort of. What makes a writer isn’t having a good grasp of language and grammar. Got that too, more or less. What makes a writer is the old mantra Bum On Seat, Hands On Keyboard. Keep writing until I learn the craft of creating a well paced story, characters that come alive, plots that work. I need to find some way to convince that mulish little redhead that she really does want to doing some writing, it’s fun, truly it is. Because as well as being an obnoxious brat sometimes, she’s the one with the stories.

In my constant efforts to feel like I am doing something towards supporting my desire to write, without actually having to write anything and admit “Hey, this is crap!”, I spend a fair amount of time reading other writer’s blogs ar on writers’ groups. I found this post today on the Writers at Play blog  .  Another reminder that it’s not about finding time to write, it’s about making time to write. Writing needs to be the priority.

I especially liked the idea of the 100 x 100- write  a minimum of 100 words every day for 100 days. If I can’t do that, then obviously I don’t want to write. Or I’m allowing my fears to be stronger than my desire to write.  Or those pesky excuses are stronger than my desire to write.

One thing I do a lot is set myself up to fail. Not just “I want to write something every day”, but “I want to write at least a thousand words everyday”, at a time when I have a lot of other pressures. What then happens is that old lazy me says, “Well, no chance of me writing a thousand words today, so no point bothering.” When the goal is 100 words, that excuse no longer cuts it.

So I’m daring sulky little redhead me- 100 story words a day.  Pffffttt! That’s nothing. You could do that while standing on your head. Or hanging upside down off the swing in the big old mulberry tree. Or teasing the cute boy next door by “accidentally” flashing your knickers at him. So go on, dare you. Double dare you!

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3 Responses to “A sulky readhead stamps her feet”

  1. hey Jane

    Found your blog by way of eHarl. So much of what you’ve said in this post is EXACTLY what I have gone through at different stages in my five years of writing with an aim to publish. I haven’t had to go through my husband losing his job — that would be extremely tough and my heart goes out to you. When your world is in chaos and you’re uncertain about the future of your household, it would definitely affect your creativity. As do the long days at work and horrible commutes. I spend 3 hours a day commuting to my job and I am in charge of a team of 15 people… I feel like I never have a minute to breathe from 7 am to 7 pm. For a long time, I used that as an excuse and stopped writing for 10 months. Now, I’m back on track and doing things a bit differently, like not worrying about whether the book’s plot is completely connected and not going back over and again to fuss with things. I’m writing forward, forward. I will revised later. Getting words on paper and seeing the word count climb is the best confidence booster.

    I don’t mean this to sound flippant, but given that you’re frustrated about your hubby’s situation, use it to your advantage. Write about a heroine who loses her job and does something bold and crazy to get another one. If you own the situation in some way, maybe you will feel better about it.

    All the best! Now, BICHOK! 🙂

  2. Hey, I just noticed you’re in England. My husband is originally from Birmingham… we live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Home of Harlequin 🙂 It’s my dream to live in England but it will probably never happen… so expensive to live there!!!!! But we are visiting this summer. Can’t wait!!!!!

    Anywho, just thought it was cool… I love meeting people from my favourite country!

  3. waitingforthecall Says:

    Hey Stephanie, Thanks for dropping by, I’ve seem your posts over on eHarl! I’m so pleased that you found a way back into writing, and you are so right, just keeping the story moving forward is the most important thing.
    I’m Australian, living in England and married to an Englishman. I love Australia, but I love England too, the history, the countryside, it really is my spiritual home. But as you say, so expensive!
    Hope you have a fab trip here this summer and that we get some good weather this year.


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