“See what a piece of eggshell I have found you.”
“See what a piece of eggshell I have found you.”
A LOT of things happened in the last few months. Friends got married - mothers had significant birthdays - house guests appeared at weekends - I applied for, interviewed for and got a new job - I went to New York - a lot of books miraculously made it to press on almost impossibly tight deadlines - I went to one or two too many Christmas parties and had one or two too many drinks - and Christmas Day managed to occur at least two and a half times. It was a lot of things, and some of them even managed to happen at the same time, which made it extra-interesting.
All in all, this has meant that ACTUAL WRITING, of the words and typing and sitting-at-the-kitchen-table-sighing variety, has been rather thin on the ground. Or not so much ‘thin’ as ‘non-existent’.
By the time things ceased to happen so frequently in early January, it had got to the point where I didn’t dare open the Scrivener document in case the words had gone mouldy and were giving off a terrible smell. So this month I am especially glad of the existence of Write Club, who gave me a metaphorical slap and then followed it up with a Baileys hot chocolate.
Kat and I met up for a London branch meeting, which entailed drinking hot chocolate, discussing how problematic it was, and then giving each other a writing task to base loosely on our novel. And then sat opposite each other writing it for an hour, to make sure we actually did it and didn’t just faff about on the internet.
Kat ended up writing many pages of something fantastic, which I want her to carry on to satisfy my need to know what happens next, and I managed to write 600 words of what is probably going to end up being a short story. As our words-per-minute writing speeds are so different (I may be a fast reader, but I’m definitely in the slow-writ-ers-group) Kat had a bit of reading time to kill, so also managed to find a bit of my novel tucked away in Scrivener which I’d forgotten about. And I was relieved to find I can probably just scrape the mouldy bits off and put it in the toaster after all.
Then we went back and gave a cat a bath, and there’s nothing like trying to wash a small grumpy bundle of scrabbling black and white fluff to put writing difficulties into perspective.
Essentially, it was very good to be doing some ACTUAL WRITING again, rather than talking about writing, pretending to write, or cleaning the bathroom instead. So I’m going to try and continue - and use the occasional Writer’s Log post to stop myself wandering too far off into the ether, or scrubbing the shower until it looks like it belongs in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
(Title inspired by my new favourite Twitter account which is exactly just as brilliant as it would be if Star Trek was crossed with Sex and the City. Boldly go forth now and check it out.)
(With apologies to C.S. Lewis)
Once there were three writers whose names were Ben, Kat and Elizabeth. This story is about something that happened to them when they found themselves unable to write in London during the summer because of abject procrastination and indecisiveness. They were sent to Write Club, in the heart of Twitter, and after many false starts tried to make a plan of action.
“We’ve fallen on our feet and no mistake,” said Ben. “This is going to be perfectly splendid.” The girls weren’t so sure.
“Hadn’t we all better start writing?” said Elizabeth. “There’s sure to be a row if we carry on procrastinating much longer.”
“I say,” said Kat, ”let’s go and explore. You might find anything in a place like this.
Everyone was so desperate to find a reason not to start writing that they agreed to this and that was how the adventures began. It was the sort of procrastination that you never seem to come to the end of, and it was full of unexpected delights. The first few distractions they tried led only into Facebook updates and paywalls, as everyone had expected that they would; but soon they came to a very long Tumblr full of cat pictures and there they found a new desktop background; and after that was a series of Youtube videos, featuring kittens riding on tortoises; and then came three clicks down and five scrolls up, and then a kind of little upstairs review site that led out on to Jezebel, and then a whole series of links to cheap books that led into each other and were lined with sarcastic Amazon reviews. And shortly after that they looked at a webpage that was quite empty except for one big wardrobe; the sort that has a looking-glass in the door. There was nothing else there except a broken blue link on the menu bar.
“Nothing there!” said Kat, and they all trooped out again - all except Ben. He stayed behind because he thought it would be worthwhile trying the door of the wardrobe, even though he felt almost sure that it wouldn’t lead anywhere. To his surprise it opened quite easily, and two new ideas dropped out, so he started writing.
Kat and Elizabeth couldn’t quite believe it when he presented them with a decent chunk of writing, but it spurred them on. “I say, look,” said Kat, “what say you to going back through this wardrobe and into NaNoWriMo?”
Elizabeth shivered. “I feel dreadfully scared,” she said, “but I’m not sure we have much choice. We’ve simply got to do something.”
“As you know,” said Ben, “I’m not all that keen on it, but I’m going to make up my own challenge that sounds uncannily similar to keep you girls company.”
“Jolly good!” said the girls.
And they all donned their Write Club coats (which are slightly too big for their novels at present but they’re hoping they’ll grow into them) and headed out through the writing wardrobe into the snowy wastes. Please leave the lamppost on for them.