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?

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