Sunday, 26 February 2012

A Day in the Life of a Procrastinator

Today I’m going to write.  A lot.  I’m going to write at least ten chapters, and they’re going to be AMAZING.  They’re going to be epic.  They’re going to be the best ten chapters anyone has ever read.

I’m just going to lie in bed for another half hour first.  It’s only 11am.

Right, here goes.  Let’s just get this computer on first.  I better check in on my various non-writing related forums.  After all, some of my fellow Disboard members are battling to death over Fastpass return times.  I better see how that’s going first.  And I’ll have a read through Twitter and see what’s been happening there.

Oooh, Bless The Child is on Sky Movies.  It’s a weird choice for a Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t very good when it was first out 12 years ago and it’s not any better now, but I’ll just watch that for a few minutes.  Just a few minutes then I’ll get started. 

This really is a very silly movie.  I wonder how it ends.

Okay.  I need to start.  What I’ll do is just have a read through the first couple of chapters in the last two drafts, just to see what needs to be fixed. 

Computer has crashed.  I’ll have another read through Twitter, have some lunch and come back later.

I don’t really like these jeans.  They’re not very comfy for writing in.  I better change.

I wonder if anything exciting has been happening on the Disboards since I was last on there.  I’ll just have a quick look.  Oh, someone has been asking about the Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre.  I was a little disappointed in the food there but I liked the restaurant and would like to give it another try next time I’m at Walt Disney World.  What was on the menu again?  Hang on, I’ll just check the menu online.

There isn’t a lot happening online, now’s probably a good time to start writing.  Husband is watching football so I’ll put my Ipod on to block out the noise. 

Why do I have that song on here?  Come to think of it, I haven’t liked any of the last five songs.  I should make a new play list before I start writing.  I need a Bridget Jones-style mood compilation to go with the genre of my book.  It’ll only take a few minutes.

I should really go to the shops before the lottery desk closes. 

I’ve had a total plot breakthrough in the car on the way to the shops.  I’ll just pop in for a lottery ticket and head home quickly so I can start writing.  I’ll just have a quick look at the books as well while I’m in.

The Oscars are on tomorrow night.  I better pick up some snacks to see me through the night.

Right, it’s time for dinner.  I’ll watch Take Me Out and Let’s Dance while I’m eating, then it’s time for writing.

I changed back into my jeans before going to the shops and forgot that they’re not comfortable enough to write in.  I’ll just change quickly. 

Computer is back on.  I’ll go on the internet for a few minutes and look at some fancy houses so I can pick which one I want to buy when I win the lottery.

I didn’t win the lottery.  I’ll just have a quick look at the Disboards to cheers myself up.

Is it too late to start writing?  I’m not sure if it’s wise to start at this time of night.

Okay, I’m going to start.  Ipod in.

I didn’t put that song on!  Ah, I only charged my Ipod, I forgot to actually update it.  I’ll do it quickly now.  Wonder what’s on television.

It’s almost midnight.  I should probably go to bed.

Tomorrow, I’m going to write.  A lot.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

I Was Virtually There...

I had a new and peculiar experience today…conference by Twitter!

After narrowly missing out on the Writers and Artists conference last year, I was looking forward to attending this year’s event and soaking up the wealth of advice and knowledge on offer. 

Unfortunately, another financial commitment (also known as, ahem, a deposit for another trip to Walt Disney World) has once again stood in my way and it’s with a heavy heart that I woke up today, knowing I would be missing out on the day’s event.

Or would I?  After starting my day in the usual way (i.e. immediately checking my Twitter feed to catch up on the overnight news), I noticed that there would be a near-to live feed from the conference. 

Fast forward a few hours and I can honestly say I’ve had a more rewarding time on the internet today than I had any right to expect from a random Saturday afternoon.

Thanks to the live tweeting of the Writers and Artists Yearbook account itself (@Writers_Artists) and to the even more comprehensive - and lightning fast! -  tweets from literary agent Carole Blake (@caroleagent), I have page upon page on notes full of the kind of advice and information I had feared I would miss out on completely.  I’ve been sitting glued to my computer for most of the day, pen and paper at the ready, taking notes as if I’m actually there (though the sitting around in my pyjamas with husband bringing me drinks does somewhat shatter the illusion!)

Of course nothing comes close to being there in person, but if nothing else a live Twitter feed is a savvy marketing tool – did I find the tweets useful?  Absolutely.  Will I miss the next conference?  Absolutely not.  One of the fears I associate with events of this nature is the cost versus benefit debate.  Will it be useful?  Will I learn anything?  Is it worth the long journey?  Just from seeing the Twitter updates I can answer yes to all of those questions.

Benefits aside, it’s also been a genuinely enjoyable and interesting day (and arguably a refreshing change from my usual celebrity-stalking activities on Twitter!).  The information coming through is compelling, the advice invaluable, and it’s an entire Twitter feed of usefulness.  What more could you ask for?

I particularly enjoyed some of Barbara Trapido’s comments on the writing process – “plots drop onto the page like presents from above” is a particularly freeing notion and I intend to embark on this evening’s writing with that thought burned into my mind.  

Saturday, 4 February 2012

It was all going so well…

This was supposed to be a Writing Weekend.  It was meant to be one of those wonderful weekends when two whole days are lost completely to working on my novel, ignoring anything and all around me - just me, my Ipod and my book. 

After a week spent in a cabin with no noise, no neighbours and no Sky TV, I was off and running, flying through the editing process and feeling pretty good about myself.  I was smugly checking the word count at the end of each chapter and revelling in the hundreds of superfluous words that I’d successfully excised, congratulating myself on finally having broken through my editing horrors.

So at ease with my progress was I that I happily allowed myself a little break last night to do some reading, watch a couple of episodes of The West Wing and prepare myself for The Big Writing Weekend.

Where did it all go wrong?!

It happened sometime between 8.30am and 10am this morning.  The fact that these are not hours I usually experience on a Saturday morning may have been a factor – any other Saturday I would be grieved to be woken before 11am.  This however, was no ordinary weekend.  The Big Writing Weekend called for an early start, and much to the genuine shock of everyone else in the household an early start I had. 

I started off simple – making some notes.  Easy, right?  Em, not really, as it turns out.  Trying to organise my thoughts and ideas on a page seemed harder than leaving bed before noon on a Saturday. 

Then I turned to the book itself, and after reading the first couple of chapters I discovered a rather worrying truth – I have no talent. 

In true melodramatic fashion I announced to my husband that I was retiring from my short (and, ahem, non-existent) career as a writer, citing lack of talent and imminent torching of my manuscript as mitigating factors. 

My husband is mercifully rather more sensible than I am, and took this for what it turned out to be – a petulant fit of self-doubt and a symptom of advice and information overload.  The book has not been set alight (though the shredder was a serious contender for a while there, too) and I will shortly be resuming the editing process at an hour more suited to my serious lack of patience. 

I think too much.  This, I know.  Too often I find the writing process hampered by my being three or four chapters ahead of the one I’m actually working on, and every time I come across another piece of invaluable advice I immediately start to worry about how I can make it work in my story, and then worry some more that I can’t make it work, and then I have a tantrum.  Someone please tell me I’m not the only one…

So, now I have that off my chest it’s time for The Big Writing Saturday Night.  Music please…