Sunday, 6 April 2008

A spare hour

An hour to spare before my shiatsu this afternoon so i thought I'd try the whole be a writer in a cafe thing. So far so enjoyable. It's great to be out of the house and surrounded by other people while i write. I could get used to this :)
[Edited later to add]
671 words written while I was in the cafe. It doesn't sound like much but that's over 1,000 words now and my counter (created by Leigh) now registers 1% written!
I've decided to do something different with novel #2. I'm mostly going to write it long hand, in the notebook you can see in the photo above. I work from home 3 days a week on the laptop in my living room. I use the same laptop for surfing the net, writing and editing and, as a result, I'm spending upwards of 12 hours a day staring at a screen. And it's doing my head in.
When I was editing novel #1 I spent HOURS at this laptop, staring at the screen, tinkering with words, reading bits aloud etc etc and, as a result, I've started to associate the laptop with 'editing mode' rather than 'creative mode'. I'm hoping that by writing in a notebook I'll feel that brain-to-hand-to-pen-to-paper connection.
And so far it's working. When I was in the cafe earlier I felt like I did when I was at primary school and we used to write 'stories' in our exercise books (except I had a massive great skinny latte instead of an orange squash). I felt free, like I was having fun, like I was creating.
Editing (for me anyway) is always going to be hellish but writing a first draft should be enjoyable or else why bother? Why do something that makes you stressed and unhappy? No one's forcing you (or me) to be a writer. We do it through choice. The least we can do is enjoy the process.
There is stress in showing your complete novel to other people. There is stress in reading their feedback. There is stress in subbing your work to agents. There is stress in your agent subbing work to editors. There is stress in correcting proofs. There is stress in marketing your novel. There is stress in reading reviews. There is stress in frantically checking your chart position. There is stress in comparing the size of your advance to your actual sales and worrying if you'll be offered a second book deal or not.
But when you write a first draft you need to forget about what could and might and should be and just write. Writers write. They do it because they need to, because they have to and because they want to. And, if they're not complete masochists, they do it because they enjoy it too.
I'm tired of worrying about the 'business' of publishing and need to get back to what I love.


KAREN said...

Ooh, what a lovely picture! Makes me want to take up coffee-drinking :o)

A. Writer said...

I love the notepad and pen. Very swish!

Leigh said...

GREEN with envy. GREEN, I say!

Yvonne said...

You're so right Cal! I really enjoyed writing my first draft. Yes, it could have been more precise and crafted, but I don't regret it. It's very freeing. Congratulations on such a great start to your second novel!

HelenMH said...

Hey! It sounds like you've hit on the answer of what you needed to make it fun again! Woohoo!

Sarah*G* said...

Gorgeous notebook! Where is it from??

Cal said...

Karen - It was a mighty find skinny cafe latte!

A.Writer - Do you think? I bought them because I didn't have a pen and paper on me (I wasn't planning on doing any writing while I was out!) but their cuteness appealled.

Leigh - Sorry! ;o)

Yvonne - Thanks luv. I think the motto 'first drafts are always rubbish' comes in useful. Don't worry about being precise and crafted when you're writing the first draft. That's what the evit edits are for!

Helen - Yep, let's hope it lasts ;o)

Sarah*g* - Woolworths would you believe and about 1/3 of the price of 'classier' notebooks at Paperchase!

Quillers said...

Fantastic post, Cally, and I love that notebook!

Kate.Kingsley said...

Ooooh, gorgeous notebook ~ where is that from? (I'm almost finishedym current notebook, and on the lookout for a spanky new one)

Thank you for the reminder that the first draft should be fun. I keep forgetting that!

Kate.Kingsley said...

oh, silly me ~ just noticed your reply to Sarah re Woolworths.

That'll teach me to comment before I've finished reading.....

Maddie Moon said...

Good point, Cal. It's so easy to get bogged down with all that other stuff, but you have to enjoy the writing bit and I do! Hopefully, I'll still be scribbling when I'm a very old lady.

I'm glad that Novel no.2 is going well. Keep it up!

KAREN said...

I've just read the rest of your post, and found it really inspiring. I remember sitting out in the garden one sunny day last year, and scribbling away in my notepad. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and didn't find myself getting distracted by all the things you mentioned. Great idea!