Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Lists etc

Last week I was feeling very smug, because I thought I had it sussed. The way to motivate myself to get things done was to make a to-do list each day and tick things off as I achieved them. It worked very well, and I got lots more done than usual. Then what happened?

This week is a different story. I can't even be bothered to make a list! It all feels too boring and contrived. And I'm feeling lazy. Is it the dreaded hormones kicking in again? Something to do with the full moon? Who knows? Who cares?

One habit I have been sticking to for nearly three weeks now is writing for 15 minutes as soon as I get up. I have my yellow legal pad waiting for me on the kitchen table and I sit down to write before I do anything else. Some days the writing flows beautifully, often inspired by a dream. Other days (like today) I struggle to get the words down. This morning I simply wrote a list of things I could see in my garden. I described the sky. I added a little more to the novel scene I wrote yesterday, but that was about it. It's hard not to feel despondent when inspiration doesn't strike.

My novel is progressing very slowly, and I still feel a long way from finishing. I start to lose heart and feel it's the worst piece of writing ever. I have this longing to go through what I have and tidy it all up. It all feels such a raggedy mess. How can I write the ending when nothing seems to fit properly in the middle? It's like a giant puzzle I have to solve.

I'm not a planner. I try to plan, but then my writing becomes stilted and forced. The scenes where my characters take over and carry on without me work much better.

And The Yellow Room? The website is up and running again after being 'down' for about a month. I need to update it again soon and make sure I include a Paypal button for the competitions, so that people can pay online. I have yet to start proofreading the stories for Issue 6, which will be considerably later than planned, due to a slight cash flow problem! I'm relying on more competition entries to help with the financial side of things. More subscriptions would be great, too.

Don't forget to send in your entry to The Yellow Room Short Story Competition, which closes on 31st March 2011. Details of how to enter are on the website: www. theyellowroom-magazine.co.uk

7 comments:

Dianni65 said...

Blame the full moon. It's the excuse I'm using and I'm sticking to it. I just can't string two sensible thoughts together this last week or so, let alone write anything in the least interesting.
Enjoy the spring sunshine, gaze at the full moon and use the time inspiration is ellusive to spil yourself with coffee and cakes and chats with friends. Who knows, inspiration may be nearer than you think.
Di Horsfield

Sarah Callejo said...

For the past years I've noticed that I'm exhausted during the weeks leading up to spring and the first weeks of spring. I don't know why but it isn't only me, lots of other people find the same. Those weeks, everything seems up hill. I hope we soon get the needed sunshine and things look brighter.

Captain Black said...

It's an interesting question: to plan or not to plan? I struggled with this one for a while but now I think I have the answer. Both!

Don't worry, this isn't some variation on quantum physics (you know, Schrödinger and his cat). What I mean is that you can plan but you don't have to plan everything. For example:

* Plan a bit.
* Write a bit.
* Write a bit without planning.
* Adjust the plan.
* Go off on a tangent.
* Change the plan...

I've tried this and I think it works for me. Why not give it a go? Perhaps you can get the best of both worlds.

Jo said...

Captain Black, this is pretty much what I've been doing with my novel. When I get stuck, I realise that I'm planning too much and have to go back to my characters and allow them to lead me. I pick a couple of them out and wonder how they'd react with each other in a give situation or I have one of them wondering around thinking about something, then they meet someone. I find 'movement' difficult within my novel. The characters tend to stick to their 'favourite' location. I don't feel as if I have enough variety of place. Character in action is more difficult for me than what's going on in character's head!!

Jo said...

or even *wandering* around.....

JO said...

I write rubbish every morning. I know it will be rubbish - it's not intended to be meaningful, simply to remind my brain that writing is what I love to do. Occasionally a gem emerges (often just one line) that can become a short story, but mostly it is utter drivel. I've done it for so long now that if, for any reason, it's not possible I miss it - it's like getting up and forgetting to put one's pants on - you know that something isn't quite right all day!

debutnovelist said...

Hi Jo
I think of any original writing (ie first draft or just general drivel) as lump of clay. One day it may become a pot, maybe not. But no pot will be made without it. (NB not an original idea but maks me feel better about it!) Good luck.
AliB