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Sunday, 26 October 2008

Prevaricating

I think I've discovered the reason why writers (well, me anyway) will do anything rather than actually write when they set aside alloted times. For me it's early mornings.

I never used to suffer from this affliction until just recently, because if I didn't feel like writing - I simply didn't write.

Now, with deadlines looming and everything being so intense, I'm having to discipline myself, and it's hard not to blog or creep onto Facebook. It takes an enormous amount of self-control.

My discovery is that writing invokes extremes of emotion and for me, at least, it's against my nature to be on a high one minute and then tearing my hair out in despair the next. The conception of an idea is intensely private, but if, like all of us, we want to be published, the outcome is about the most public thing you'll ever do in your life.

The bit in between is like being pulled in two directions, and the emotions are the same - either a tortuous lack of self-confidence, which isn't helped at all by reading someone else's brilliant display of literary talent, or soaring to that high place when you have a particularly unique idea that you just have to get down on paper, and then, when it's written, you feel euphoric and the feeling is better than anything.

It's being so absent from what is going on around you that you don't even hear when someone mentions your name. You are so deep within your own imagination that you really are in a different place mentally. Then - wham - the phone rings and it startles you so much that you actually jump. It's like blinking and finding yourself on the other side of the world.

Does anyone else have any ideas on this?

10 comments:

TOM FOOLERY said...

Annie, Yes and No. Can't do writing to save my life - I'm good at concepts but not so great at detail -like spelling, grammar etc. I've no discipline! But with my photography I've noticed that I'm becoming more obsessed with taking pictures - it's like a drug. The Other Half is now even refusing to go out in public with me if I insist in taking my camera! So I can sortof relate to your problem (not sure if problem is the right word) maybe it's a need to be creative. TFx

HelenMH said...

I can prevaricate for hours I'm afraid. Blogger being one of my biggest distractions, funnily enough. I do actually find it easier when I have a deadline to meet though - which is probably why my novel is limping at the moment.

Debs said...

I seem to be more focused with a deadline and do less faffing about, but then my deadlines aren't in the same stratosphere with what you're dealing with right now. So I've no idea how I'd be in that position (only hope that it ever does happen:)

I know what you mean about being completely absorbed. The amount of times R has come home to a house in complete darkness and the only light emanating from my laptop as I click away on the keyboard are astonishing.

L-Plate Author said...

Annie, I have no ideas to share but I absolutely know where you are coming from.

It's so weird that one thought, one overheard word in a conversation, one song lyric or a book title and I'm off running for my notepad. Sometimes it leads to nothing, sometimes, like the last time, a comment from my Bloke from Stoke and I have a whole new book forming. How do we do it? Can you answer that one? x

KAREN said...

I can definitely relate to the highs and lows, and certainly to procrastination, but I'm not sure why it happens. Sometimes it's fear of failure, but all I know is that when I do get going it's hard to stop and I don't know why that doesn't happen more often!!

Captain Black said...

I always find editing a bit of a disappointment after the fun and "discovery" of the writing part. Having said that, it gets better as time goes on. So I see what you mean about highs and lows.

"It's like blinking and finding yourself on the other side of the world." That sounds like one of my stories ;o)

Pat Posner said...

When you're on a deadline - and waiting to hear back on book #1 - it must be really hard (slight misquote here) to make yourself go, at a set time, deep within your own imagination and be in a different place mentally.
It sounds as if you're managing to do that, though.
Maybe we can persuade TF to create you an award for being so disciplined!
I hope you'll still find time to keep us updated on the Jeffsons, though.

Cait O'Connor said...

It must be hard to have to write to order rather than to wait to be inspired.
That's no help, sorry.

Leigh Russell said...

I find it varies. Sometimes I surprise myself how rapidly I can switch on and off, when I'm writing. Other times, I'm seething with suppressed exasperation when I'm interrupted. Sometimes, I can be so in a scene, with the words just within reach, that it's frustrating to have to be pulled out of it, feeling the words I want just slipping away. It's all about the words for me. I think in words and picture the scene afterwards. Weird.

motherx said...

You must be under a great deal of stress. Good luck. I shall keep my fingers crossed for you although Im sure its not nec!