Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Can't Sit Still!

I was poised to pen some profound thoughts here yesterday when the PC crashed and the Internet was down. Then it was hectic and a social life intervened. And somehow I don't feel quite as 'writerly' today.

I recently conducted a mini poll on a writers' forum I belong to and asked how many hours per day people spent sitting writing. I was astounded to learn that the average was 4-5 hours per day. So that's how novels get written! I've since realised that the longest I can sit still is about an hour. I feel this need to be constantly 'on the go' and 'doing things'. Things which involve a lot of moving around and getting practical things done. I feel restless if I sit at the PC for more than forty-five minutes. I just can't sit still for long enough to be a proper writer. Oh dear! What is the remedy?

Celia Brayfield in her book, Bestseller, recommends that we get up from our computers and take a break by walking around the garden, letting our minds roam free. This allows our right brain to start working again. Nice if you have the time. Today, for example, I feel compelled to do housework as my son has a new friend visiting after school. I also feel obliged to make cakes for the occasion. And I have to fit in my forty-five minute exercise session. See what I mean?

I've recently purchased more books on 'how to write a novel', because I need all the help I can get. The aforementioned Bestseller isn't cutting it for me, although I quite like Celia Brayfield's 'ten stages' - the heroic journey of mythology and have made notes. I'm finding Sol Stein's How To Grow A Novel much more readable and useful. I've only just started it, but the section on openings is great, although I'm not sure I learnt anything new. As a voracious reader of novels I think I've picked up a lot of tips subconsciously. Putting them into practice is another matter, of course.

Another bright and sunny day here and what am I doing? I'm off to clean the bathroom.


Caroline said...

Another bright and sunny day here and what am I doing? I'm off to clean the bathroom.

Ha! Tell me about it - it's sunny with lots of wind in the north of Scotland today so I'm in full-on laundry mode and trying not to get knocked unconscious by the rotary washing line while I'm hanging out clothes. I think I may need to dig out my riding hat...

(I'm caroj from the Wannabe site, by the way!)

Jo said...

Hi, Caroline! I'm still in the throws of housework and can't wait to finish so that I can chill out either writing or reading. How I long to be rich enough to be able to afford a cleaner!

Jo said...

Oops, meant to say 'in the throes of'!! What sort of editor am I if I can't spell?

Sue said...

Hi there Jo! Have you read 'Letters to a young artist' by Julia Cameron? I believe she has also written a book called 'The artist's way' which is popular. I love the Letters book, it is great for motivating you to 'just do it'! But also very sensitively written. It's raining here today and I am taking my mum to the Gustav Klimt exhibition at the Liverpool Tate. Hope you get something down on paper soon that you are really pleased with. Love Sue x