I’m actually writing a novel. Almost seven thousand words in a week and I’ve yet to experience a crisis. This obviously won’t last but opening a document that already contains thousands of words creates a sort of momentum. It’s better than the pages of notes. Better than the number of words you had the day before. And it is so much better than the blank page. It creates in one’s head the idea that you’ve already written twenty or thirty thousand words, it’d be a crime to give up now. Though I say that as someone who has on three occasions abandoned projects that had passed the twenty-thousand-word mark. But not this time.
This time I am working to a plan. I know what needs writing and where everything is and must go. It is a relief, it is a chore and it is fun. The only things getting in my way at the moment are; the little insidious doubts at the back of my mind telling me I’m an imposter, having to make a living, the weather, the dog, eating, reading, watching TV, the news, grocery shopping, Twitter, my little pieces of activism, thoughts about the next novel, existential angst and cutting the bloody lawn. But other than that, I’m OK.
My routine is a surprise to me. A recent IOS upgrade added a thing that encourages we iPhone zombies to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. And if it’s on my Apple product then it must be good and wholesome. I have it set up so that it tells me to be in bed for 12.35 and to get up at 7.35. It has succeeded in producing something my mother so consistently failed to shape, a human being capable of aping adult behaviour. My phone tells me at 11.55 that I should consider getting ready for bed. I do this, because it is my iPhone telling me to do it. Then it tells me that I really should get up or when I check my app the statistics showing my sleep patterns will be out of whack. A simply terrifying prospect.
So, I do what my phone tells me to do. Sometimes Arwen gets up too, so I have to feed her then I have my porridge while watching whatever U.S. twenty-two-minute-long comedy show I’ve recorded. Breakfast eaten I write a thousand words. It’s probably only 9.30 at this point and I’m done for the day. No matter how hard I try I cannot sit down to write fiction again until the next morning. I can blog, but not fiction. It’s irritating, but it works. Perhaps in the future I will be able to increase the writing to two hours and two thousand words, but for now what I’m doing is working and I don’t intend poking it with a stick.
The most important thing I’ve learned, during this project, is that to create wonder and fantasy, one must be as boring and predictable as possible in one’s habits. This is not at all what I expected.
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