Iam not - according to the rules I have set myself - supposed to blog in the middle of the the day. The reason I have rules is that for the next six months I am allowing myself to work at my day job for a maximum of three days a week to enable me to dedicate more time to my fledgling novel. That has the effect of costng me a lot of money so I am determined not to waste my precious home days reading magazines and painting my toenails. So, I have given my days a set order. Journalling comes first. I go to it straight out of bed, touselhaired and blearyeyed. Twenty minutes freewriting straight down no shirking. It is supposed to stimulate creativity and mould you as a writer. I'm not sure about that yet, but one thing it does do is make writing the first priority in the day which I find does set me up with some kind of balance, even on days when I have to then go and do some legal work.
Then comes a walk around the block or 20 mins yoga to conteract the fact the the rest of the day will be spent hunched over a laptop stuffing biscuits down my throat. (Or possibly dried mango if I am being good, but I have found that writer's block is cured by chocolate brownies - both the making and the eating of them. Strange how the creative psychologists don't mention that in their books.).
Bt ten o'clock I must be at the desk. Having written fragmentary pieces of the novel over previous months, the plan for the next six is to write sequentially clipping together peices and reworking them to fit into the new work as I go, working towards a final first draft by July. So far I find that I can do five to five and half hours writing befroe I start to 'go off'. So late afternoon - time to peruse a writing manual or Mslexia magazine, then some cooking... and then the blog if I feel I have anything to say whch is not all the time.
But the great perk about self-employment is that I make the rules so I can adapt the rules and I am blogging now just to keep the fingers moving. I have come to a natural breakpoint in the novel today by finishing Part 0ne. I didn't know I had parts until I wrote the end of chapter fifteen but now I think I do. And so there was a great sense of achievment at this natural milestone but also the flow was broken. So I took a break to go to the library to get some books on quilting which I think might be the new skill I learn for 2006 ( aromatherapy was the new thing for 2005!). So now I just want to keep the fingers moving while I contemplate whether part 2 carries on after a little leap forward in time or whether in fact I can go back in time for a short part 2 and give some of the history of my characters' relationship.
But I have headed this 'Random thoughts' which is because originally I was not going to bore you with the structure of my writing days but to comment on two media pieces I saw recently. One, in the Times, complained that publishers only publish rubbish and that when chapters from two Booker Prize winning novels from 35 years ago were given to publishers they were rejected. This apparently shows that publishers do not recognise good writing. It occurs to me that publishers are not there to recognise the prize giver's definition of good writing. They are there to publish books that people want to read. The sales figures of current prize wining novels may well indiate that, if the definition of 'good' writing is 'enjoyed' writing, that the Booker Prize is being given to the wrong authors. Or it may be that tastes change over a generation. Would Dickens or George Elliot writing in the style he did get published today?
The second was a TV programme I only watched becuase my husband put it on when we were indulging in the bad habit of eating our tea from trays. It was a documentary following Rolf Harris painting the Queen. It was actually fascinating, not only to see the picture emerging but as a study of the psychology of creativity. Chocolate Brownies did not feature at all I am sad to say, but I was pleased to watch Rolf swabbing his canvas with any colourwash that came to mind because the blank white canvas frightened him. I liked the fact that he got up at 5am to paint it because thoughts about the painting were going round and round in his mind. I enjoyed seeing him frustrated becuase he was too busy to paint and then weary. At once point he declared that he was now' fussing and fiddling with it when I want to be bold and brave."
Why did I find this so pleasng? Becuase somehow it made me seem part of a community of creators all doing the same thing in their own spheres. It legitimated my own experiences and inspired me to continue. I hope this blog might do the same for at least one writer out there somewhere.