True to Auntie Sis’ word, Crystal was escorted to and from school over the next few weeks. There was a severe lack of sunshine and a very present overcast, and as the days got colder and darker, she wondered when her punishment would be over.
It seems that my procrastinator-self has reared his ugly head once again. I can’t find the motivation to write my book. I have been on Chapter 15 now for months; MONTHS I TELL YOU. I feel guilty that I’m not doing it. I feel ashamed to call myself a writer. So, if you will join me dear reader friends, I am about to embark on a little Procrastination Therapy.
Whilst I haven’t been writing I have been doing book-work. This book-work has been information collecting.
It has become apparent to me that I have so many stories/threads/characters that I am going crazy. I know from experience that the best way to deal with all of this information is to write it all down. And I do… The problem is that all of this info is dispersed through several different notebooks. I have decided it’s time to collate this info into one big notebook, therefore making it easier for me understand all of these seemingly random ideas.
I have turned one of my Oxford Project Books into a Crystal Green Notebook. It comes complete with dividers and that magic paper that doesn’t show the ink through the underside. The book has 4 sections, and each section has been given a title; and those titles are the working titled for the next 4 novels of the series (which I am not going to divulge just yet…)
I know I may seem presumptuous, but I can’t stop myself from creating stories for these characters. It’s automatic for me. It’s like breathing.
But rather than just copying out all my notes into their designated sections, I am attempting to organise the chaos. This means reading all of my previous notes and slotting all of them together like one giant wordy jigsaw puzzle.
It is proving difficult.
Well, I say difficult, but in truth it’s probably more time consuming to be honest. No, actually, I think it is difficult. In streamlining this info into a coherent and understandable narrative I am really getting to grips with the future books and characters. This does mean, however, that the focus has been taken away from book 1, for which the deadline is quickly approaching. I haven’t even done any editing yet!!
Nevertheless, I feel I must get this info in order, or my head is going to explode. Then, I’m sure, I will be able to continue writing; actual writing with words and everything!
So this year seems to be flying! May already.
At the start of this year I was doing so well with my writing, and now I seem to have let it slip through my fingers. I have no routine, that’s what’s wrong, I know it. The thing about being out of a routine is that it’s very difficult to get back into one…
But instead of dwelling on my failings, I am instead going to focus on the positives. At this very moment I am amidst a day off work and I have already achieved a lot. Procrastination you say? Never heard of it.
I know I’m supposed to be sat at my computer writing, but because I am not in the zone, I am actively trying to stay away. I can’t put it off for much longer… In an attempt to throw myself back into it, I turned on the computer and got myself comfy…
Before I knew it the washing was done and put away. I had a sort-out of the clothes that I haven’t worn for ages and have bagged them up and put them up the attic. J and I have also tidied up the spare room and have banished lots of stuff to the attic, and in doing so have almost claimed our spare room back; I say almost.
I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of bargains I have bought already this year ready for Christmas. This year I am determined for it to be a bargain and not an expense, as usual. So the plan is thus, say it with me, HAMPERS. Baskets and parcels filled with lots of little lovely things which haven’t cost a lot, but will hopefully be appreciated. I was going to get myself a little notebook and pen and set about making lists of what I’ve bought, how much it cost and whom it is intended for. But then I remembered that I was supposed to be writing.
I turned on the laptop (AGAIN) and sat down. Then I decided that I was cold. So I have donned a woolen jumper and lit all the candles in the room. It is still daytime, all-be-it a dark grey day, but day nonetheless. So as unusual as it is to light candles, it is amazing how much heat they give off! Also, it is time to start trying to save money on the heating bill.
So I sat back down and decided that I needed a cuppa. I have recently (as in 2 days ago) switched to decaf tea. I have been having headaches again and J had an idea that perhaps all the caffeine I am ingesting might not be helping. So I am currently drinking decaf Yorkshire tea, and I have to say I can’t tell the difference. So that’s caffeine kicked, for now anyway.
So I sat back down and realised that I haven’t blogged for a while, a long while actually. So I opened the dashboard and had a little play around. That’s the thing about having a blog, it is the ultimate procrastination. You can spend hours trying to figure out how you want your blog to look, or it does me anyway because I often know what I want something to look like but struggle to get it there. My blog, right now, is just how I want it to be. I like the layout and the look.
Today I added a page. Town Tales is a little doorway (aside to camera a-la-Miranda – Rude!) to my column in my local paper The Llanelli Star. I couldn’t figure out how to have a page where only certain blog posts get posted. I wanted the Town Tales page to be where I posted my column for you to read, and the Crystal Green page to be about my book. But that was beyond me. So instead I created a little doorway (aside to camera a-la-Miranda – Cheeky!), I’m also very pleased with calling it that, and that little doorway (aside to camera a-la-Miranda – Naughty!) explains where to go to read it.
Then I decided to write a little blog about my little doorway (aside to camera a-la-Miranda – Look now you’ve had your filthy little giggle, can we be grown ups please?)
And here we are! Here I sit, comfortable, warm, thirst quenched, blog altered and post almost written, nothing else to do in the house other than wrap my brother in law’s birthday presents, iron my uniform for tomorrow and make some lunch to take with me. But instead of doing these I am here writing. Once this is done I plan to actually open chapter 14 and write the next scene.
Wish me luck!!!
Last night’s blog experiment actually worked!
It’s incredible. I talked myself out of the problem. I was then awake till stupid-o’clock this morning writing, but that’s better than not writing at all.
I recommend Procrastination-Therapy to all creative people stuck.
So last night I bashed out the ‘cut-out’ of a chapter which was formally 8, and the ‘moving it’ to become chapter 10. It took a little rejigging.
I had this whole bit where it was coming up to half-term holidays and there was a rush to use the school computers. I think it’s a hang over from another time; that and my addiction to Buffy… But then I had a rather obvious solution; smart phones. Why couldn’t Crystal be in the Hobbit-type-hole AND be researching using 3G?
So I’ve moved that plot point to be set in the Hobbit-hole and actually it provides a much better backdrop for the conversation. It’s also the meeting of two VERY different worlds, which I love; lots of chance for humour.
Humour is harder to plan than you might think. So when an opportunity presents itself you have to grab it by the proverbial-balls. Looking forward to writing that!
I then had an issue with time passing. Actually that’s something I struggle with generally.
To me, it’s easy to write something serial without large gaps of time. In this book there is a three month passage of time. Necessary purely because of the setting/backdrop. Last night’s musing allowed me to understand what would happen during that passage of time; the answer is: not much. But that gap allows for some domesticity which is something that I sort of revel in in this novel.
The little passages set at breakfast or dinner etc are some of my favourites. There is a time and place for chatting whilst doing the dishes, and there is a time for evil talking squirrels.
As an author, the passage of time does throw up some problems. For me, I tend to structure set-pieces that I write towards. For example, this book has a big Halloween set-piece. It is going to be a joy to write; I cannot wait for that! But more than that, it will look brilliant in your head.
However, to get there I have to travel through October. Right now in the narrative it is September. I don’t want to get too specific, but it’s the 22nd. This is because I want to reference the Autumn Equinox in this chapter; a time for reflection, to breathe deeply and thank the Goddess for food enough for winter. The theme of looking back and forward is a lovely touch for this part of the novel; it really is the end of one Crystal and the start of another.
So after chapter 9 there is a month until the next set-piece. During this month a couple of cool things are planned to happen, but those things need to bridge this gap in time. Sometimes as an author you can spend hours, if not days, thinking about these things. It’s as if my mind needs to understand everything implicitly before putting fingers to keys.
This can of course drive you mad. All writers are mad. And it can be maddening too. When you really want to write but you need to figure out why Crystal would be listening to that song, or using that pen, or eating that chocolate…
And then there are times when you revel in the creation-part.
Just today I went back and did my second pass at chapter 9 and created something completely new that I didn’t know I needed and now I LOVE AND CAN’T BELIEVE IT WASN’T PLANNED UNTIL NOW.
Now that chapter really sings. And the adrenaline from that creation spurred me on to basically finish the chapter, which is what I did today.
I’m so glad that Crystal needed a lantern to see the squirrel she was talking to… (Oof! I’m a tease!)
Sometimes little things like a source of light are just left out. I’m glad that I have some common sense in there somewhere that realised it’s night time; how will she see that the squirrel was talking. Because you’d need to see it, right? Otherwise you wouldn’t believe it was happening.
So today was a success.
Earlier on I wrote about my ‘second pass at the chapter’ and I think I need to explain that. Usually, I write a chapter with descriptions and speech but it ends up being quite basic. My second pass is where I add the colour; the heart of it appears on my second pass. And I have to keep reminding myself that this is my process. I often feel downhearted after writing the first pass, as if the story feels flatter than it did in my head. As if I’m not a good enough writer to realise the story on paper.
I think we all doubt ourselves.
And I have to push myself to do the second pass because otherwise I will leave the chapter without heart and when I return to it a week-or-so later, I will feel like it isn’t good enough and that it will take too much to put right. Delete. Total re-think of whole book. Start again.
All writers are mad.