The past weekend was a birthday bonanza – I turned the ripe old age of 26 (*melts in to melancholy heap*) on the Friday, and Mum turned *cough* on the Saturday (suffice to say it was a significant one). Which meant a lot of family time (Little Sis was even around for some of it) and way too much food (my diet doesn’t understand why it’s been so neglected and is sulking). And it also meant day trips! Continue reading
Tag Archives: Inspiration
Following on from the re-blogging spree I’ve recently had (and the post that explains why) I have found myself drawn to my Writing Shelf. This is a very particular shelf – and the name sort of implies the purpose: this shelf is filled with books bought with many a good intention – “how to” writing books, books on how to create plotlines, where plotlines come from, ideas for writing various genres, and memoirs from famous authors (the kind of authors I wish I was instead of mediocre me). This shelf sits alongside other abandoned shelves – with dusty volumes of diet books, recipe books, books on art for beginners, how to find your way around a car engine, starter photography, books on creating a wildlife sanctuary in your back garden (unfortunately Sophie-cat rather spoils that dream).
Anyway, I digress.
There are several books I bought all at once from Amazon just after I finished university in an attempt to keep the writing mill churning. Clearly, it failed. But these new re-blogged blog posts have shown me that inspiration from nowhere generally remains, well, nowhere. You can’t force imagination, but you can direct it.
I can’t give up my fiction reading – it’s one of the things that gets me through the manic day of reality – but I might have to pick up one of these books at the same time.
First on the list: The 3 a.m. Epiphany, by Brian Kiteley. This book provides over 200 writing exercises designed to get you thinking about your writing and, most importantly, writing in the first place.
The idea is I write one of these exercises once a week. Just like my Story Cubes, I need things to spark my writing off. I feel if I can get back to the basic routine of writing, the ideas for my novel will just evolve and appear. Not in some hippy, fluffy way – the way I always imagined – but in an organic, honest way where something I write shows me a direction, a character, a thread to the plot I hadn’t thought of before. Where something written down in a scrambled writing exercise is more imaginative than anything that is forced onto a blank page in a frantic realisation that I have been staring at the computer screen for 3 hours.
Anyway. Now I’ve been staring at a computer screen for 3 hours and FINALLY panic-written this post, I am sneaking away to bed (with my fiction book instead of the 3 a.m. Epiphany – I’m not quite ready yet for that, of course).
I’ve been a bit lax in my writing these days. Every now and then life seems to take over from writing and disrupt absolutely everything. It’s a churn of 6.30am starts and 11pm finishes, rushed lunches of the same-old-same-old, staring at the computer screen and the clock and the computer screen again. Days blur into weeks, with brief blasts of weekends filled with busy-doing-nothing and family time, and then before I know it, another month has gone and I haven’t written a single word (save for my blogs and marketing emails for work). My beautiful Oxford notebook sits forlornly under a film of dust, the ideas fading on the pages and the characters twiddling their thumbs hoping one day I will decide what to do with them. Life has pushed aside my grand ideas of a bestselling novel, for mundane bits-and-bobs and the general viscera of normality.
My poor little novel. How sad it looks on the pull-out shelf of my desk (because the main bit of the desk is covered in beauty products and make-up and half-watched DVDs). I feel guilty every time I look at it. So why don’t I just get on with it, you cry. Stop the self-pitying rumblings of the aspiring (lazy) writer and DO IT. Which is, essentially, exactly what I should be doing. I’ve just secured a permanent job (in publishing, no less – yay me) so I don’t have to worry so much about the hand-to-mouth-will-I-get-paid-next-week temping stuff, I’m living at home so I get my dinner cooked for me (spoiled, I know). I’m currently broke, so socialising shouldn’t be an issue. There is one small problem.
For starters, I’m lazy. Not just “I’ll do it later” lazy. Just really, truly lazy. As in, I’d be happiest in bed all day doing nothing. The only reason I manage to blog so often is because it’s habit and I can’t let people down. Everything else gets pushed aside by the Great Laziness. So, okay, I can motivate myself to write every now and then – it’s been proven in the past. I can do it now, right? The next step is actually fitting it in to my life. I’m not amazingly busy. But my evening seems to get eaten up by everything else. Not only that, but it’s fantastically easy to distract me. I could get distracted by a butterfly. Honestly. The tiniest thing. So now I need time to do it, to put aside the Great Laziness, AND find somewhere to do it that will be minus butterflies, Twitter, offers of tea, something on the TV or anything else that might possibly move me from the concentration that’s needed for writing.So. Here’s the plan; I am going right back to basics. After school, you always put aside time to do your homework (or at least were meant to). So, why not do the same? Every day, after work, I will have an hour to myself to do some writing. I will tame this beast that is (was… could be) my novel. I will grab it with both hands and forge it into something more than a collected piece of dust, paper and forgotten characters. Nothing will stop me and I will conquer the world! To me, the basics really are the basics. There’s nothing fancy about writing – there’s no magic (though it might feel that way when it’s written). So why try to create a situation that’s not going to happen? Why sit there and say “I’ll write when I get a bolt of inspiration”? Just write. Just take that writing and show it who’s boss.