I’d planned to blog about ‘plotting’ this week but there’s been a change of plan. My blog, my plan, my plot, I’ll change them if I want to. Yes, this will be one of those moany posts I warned you about at the beginning of this series. Though I will attempt to find and take some positives from this week of getting very little done.
The people I hate most on this planet, after homeopaths that is, are writers who’ve managed to write novels during the brief patches of quiet in their busy lives. I hate them passionately. I don’t have a busy life but I still struggle to find those patches of quiet. That this is almost entirely my own fault does not lessen my hate. That discipline, that focus, are to me the preternatural qualities of an alien species.
What I should be feeling is a mix of inspiration and jealousy towards these aliens. I don’t. I just want to blog my sulk. And sulk, blogged, is a sulk shared and validated. As I’ve couched my strop in grammar and prose, I am making it into a thing that is entirely acceptable and worthy of empathy. OK, that’s not true, but it’s been a frustrating week and this flow of words is the most flowy I’ve been able to manage.
As I try to understand those weird bastards and their snatched spaces I’ve had to conclude certain things. They are innately better than me, and by that, I mean they have the ability to use their time like grown-ups. Or they know their story so well, they are almost dictating it rather than creating it on the hoof. Or a combination of both.
As I have written about recently, I am experiencing anxiety. I am already over the worst of that unpleasantness, but dealing with small things, like cutting the lawn, going to work, walking Arwen, putting my contacts in, are a little bit more stressful than they have a right to be. They distract and tire (and it’s tire not exhaust because moaning aside, I am a lot better than I was even two weeks ago). I’m managing to go to bed before midnight, most nights. I am getting up reasonably early, most mornings. I am eating the right things. But I’m not managing to sit in front of my computer most days. And I think I know why.
And fortunately, it ties in with what this blog post was supposed to be about, plotting. My process was to do the absolute minimal amount of prep work possible then just make shit up as I write. This is clearly not working for me. I think I have to plot this novel to death, before writing it. When I sit down to write, I need to already know what I’m going to write. It’s a method I’ve always resisted because I’ve assumed it’ll negate those lovely moments when unexpected things happen.
It’s a thrill that’s hard to describe. I’m writing a scene, I’ve an idea where it will and must go and suddenly I’ve written several paragraphs of something entirely different. It’s pure invention. It’s the closest I get to feeling like an artist. Except it isn’t very useful when trying to structure something that is at the very least sixty thousand words long. As much as I wish it wasn’t the case, there are right ways and wrong ways to write a novel, before one even gets into the territory of judging its quality.
I need to plot. I need to know that when I sit down to write, I already know what I’m going to write. How I retain those creative spurts? I’ll just have to work that out as I go along. So next week, will be about plotting. Hopefully.