The Light Turns On
Following on from my last blog about the horror of writing, you'll be relieved to know I've fought the demon and overcome it. I've realised and accepted that words do not necessarily flow out but sometimes have to be chiselled out of the page, or your brain depending on your POV.

But I like the flow, am addicted to it. The ability to pour out word upon word is a great pleasure to me. I like the idea of them all appearing out of nowhere, leaping from my imagination onto the page, turning the page from a wilderness into a world that people can discover and get lost in.

Yes, I accept that many of them may have to be eliminated and expunged, but no to controlling the flow – allowing everything to appear without judgment or editing is one of my favourite parts of writing. I also enjoy editing and bashing badly-worded idea into shape, so it's a win-win situation really. A situation made when better when you find a whole string of words that are already beautiful and need no changing.

Doing Something Else
My route around the pain of the slow writing is to write something else instead. It doesn't have to be much. A blog update, a postcard to a friend, a few more words on a totally unrelated story. This might sound like a distraction, and it is, but it clears the log-jam and allows me to come back to the main writing ten minutes later refreshed and able to carry on. And it's an alternative to staring out of the window.

Another distraction activity I have is the guitar, this not only totally changes everything that I'm thinking about; it also gives me some much-needed practise. You can judge for yourself how badly that is needed by watching this video of me playing with my old band about a year ago. I'm the gentleman with the orange beard.

Multi-choice Writing
I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I am usually have at least three writing projects on the go at the same time, plus my regular Specter column and everything that gets crammed into my poetry notebook. My main writing task is Novel 2, followed by an autobiographical outpouring about childhood (written to preserve memory), after that come random entries to various story ideas I have for Novel 3. Lastly there's any competition entries, for example the one being run by Peirene Press.

Does anyone else do this? If so, what and why?

The Horror of Writing
As some of you may know, I'm deep into the writing of my second novel. My first (read the first chapter here), a horror story set in London's underground railway system, came easily enough (though sitting down to write a whole novel was a big mountain to climb), but the 2nd one (a bicycle-based romance) has been very tough.

First of all, I expected it to flow out in linear stylee but no, it refused, and instead lept about like a freshly born lamb hell bent on discovering every square metre of it's field in the Chilterns. I even wrote the end before much of the middle! At first this freaked me out a little/quite a lot, I was wondering what I was doing wrong, but fortunately a quick whizz around a few other author sites showed me that this isn't exceptional at all. Which was a relief!

So, back to today and the many hours it's taken me to write 500 words. I think I've been labouring under the delusion that when I write it must just flow out. Apparently not though. In fact, in this case (where the two main characters are having critical conversation the outcome of which will either make or break their relationship) it has to be very carefully worded, each sentence picked through very carefully as if I were a one-person forensic team sorting through a crime scene. And that takes time, often several minutes for one poxy little ten word sentence. Have you any idea how maddening that is?

I wasn't expecting that. And it is very, very frustrating. So, although I've written a pathetically small amount of words today, I have learnt a valuable lesson, i.e. some things demand more attention and will only appear if you take your foot off the accelerator.

So, what sort of things have tripped you up when writing? How do you deal with frustration and dealing with the unexpected? Let me know and let's see if we can share what we've learnt and hopefully save others going through the same pain.