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.
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?