Monday, September 19

Don't Jinx It!

So Nell has told me she's critiqued my second chapter over the weekend; I should be seeing that in a day or two, Royal Mail willing. I've been very good and started chapter three already, which I am over 1000 words into already. I am always really tempted to show someone what I've written -- even if it's a couple of paragraphs -- just to see what they think. Probably some low-writer-esteem in which I demand to be validated, but I am restraining myself from doing it, as I am scared I'll stem the flow. I wasn't even sure I should post on here to say what I've just said, in case my mind goes to pot and I can't think of anything else to do in chapter three (even though I have my plan).

Makes me wonder about writers' habits and routines. I bought a good book called "The Courage To Write" from Amazon... I think it was by a man called Ralph Keyes, but I can't check because it's in one of the boxes for which I still don't have room to unpack. Anyway -- it has a chapter on "totems" -- things writers believe they need in order to write well. For some it's a fountain pen, another is coffee in a certain mug, maybe a particular pair of jeans/pyjamas, a desk, even a certain brand of notepad in a certain colour. When I first started out seriously trying to write a romance I really believed I had to have a routine. To begin with I'd be at the kitchen table with a mandarin candle, my slippers (as in, wearing them -- not just having them on the table), and a cup of coffee. I don't drink coffee, but I thought it was more writer-ish and I liked the smell. Then I read in Stephen King's "On Writing" that for him, nothing compared with a proper fountain pen, so off I went to Smiths and bought one. Decided I didn't like it after one page because the ink drained through the paper to the next page. On second though, maybe I should've just bought better paper...

Anyway, I did learn something from trying on various writers' habits: that I didn't have one. Actually, forget that -- I DO have one. The thing I have to have, otherwise I can't write properly, is mood. I have to be in the mood to write. I know there is a camp of writers who believe you should write regardless, whether you're in the mood or not (I believe this applies to many full-time writers who make their living from their words -- understandably so), but I can't do it. Occasionally I can push myself. For example, if I'm not in the mood I will open up Word and start typing something, even if it's crap, and then find that something comes to me, but it doesn't happen too often. However, I DO find that if I do that, especially if it's for the start of a new chapter, I'll give up and close down, then later while I'm in the bath or pushing a trolley round Tesco, I'll suddenly know how to start my chapter. So I guess all I need to do is train my mood. Any tips?

Thursday, September 15

Relocation, Relocation

No, I didn't die during my move! I just lost all time for thinking constructively about my writing or managing to get anything creative done. Creative for the last month has been deciding where to hang clocks and pictures, and rearranging my candles on the coffee table to see which arrangement looks more homely.

But we're in, we're settled, we're happy, though we're not all unpacked. I hate it that people keep asking about unpacking -- I keep thinking that when I say we still have some boxes around they think I'm a lazy pig who can't be arsed. But that's not the truth! My sister's staying with us until she gets the go-ahead for her moving date, and until her share of boxes (which there's no point in her unpacking) and her 3-foot fish tank leave us, we can't do much more than we already have. So that's the reason, okay?!

However, today I am feeling v. positive and energized because this morning I finished chapter two of my haunted house story and emailed it off to Nell, my wonderful (and twice-sold) critique partner. Currently I'm critiquing chapter eighteen of her latest book -- I'm hoping someday she'll be critiquing a chapter of such a number that I've written! Five is the maximum number I've reached before. I may be cheating by leaving my chapters slightly shorter than usual in the haunted house book, but the higher the number gets the more excited I feel. If I ever manage to reach The End I'll edit and make them bigger.

In other news, my sister and I went to Falmouth (Cornwall) a couple of weeks ago. I bought her a voucher for a dolphin-watching trip and though the weather was good, the sea wasn't rough (thank God), and Falmouth was lovely.... we didn't see any dolphins. Which deflated us a bit. Instead we saw various sea birds and a puffin a few miles out to sea. But it was a lovely experience all the same, and return customers get a discount, so we've decided we'll simply keep going back until we see the elusive Flipper!