Books Magazine

Getting My Write on

By Hannahreadsstuff
...that, and inaction.

…that, and inaction.

As I only work part-time at the moment I have forced myself, kicking and screaming, to pick up my writing in a serious, and regular, manner (also, have you seen Jeremy Kyle lately – holy hell.). Writing is something I have always wanted to do, but it is a strange passion – you are filled with both delight and horror at the prospect.

But, mostly always horror.

For something I really enjoy doing, it doesn’t half take a cartload of motivation to get me to actually do it.

Do windsurfers feel this way? Do they really enjoy windsurfing, but spend days sulkily building up to pulling on the wetsuit before  going out and actually doing some windsurfing?

My friend Laura’s book, Queen of Bedlam, came out this year and do you know her secret? She just wrote it! (ok, so she used to get up hours before work and write before dawn, but you know, same fing) I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I KNOW that the first rule of writing is just bloody getting on with it, but sometimes I just feel completely incapable.

I used to use these excuses:

  • I’ve been at work all day, lifting things from one point to another, I’m so very tired. Can’t you just hold me?
  • I’m in a terrible rut of comparing myself to everybody else and just, well, whats the point? Sue Townsend happened already.
  • I’m 31 now so I CATEGORICALLY cannot have any rave reviews that say things like “Renowden, whose debut novel topped the Christmas charts when she was only 19, has just accepted an invitation to be the sole attraction at this year’s Hay-on-Wye
  • I don’t know what to write about…

Well, I will just have to shut those voices up, because:

  • I’ve been at work for SOME of the day, for SOME of the week and Davina McCall workout videos aside, I’m still pretty perky at 5pm. This is a privilege, so stop pissing about.
  • Comparison is completely stupid, futile and will get you nowhere so STOP IT.
  • The only thing not possible in a scientific way about this sentence is “19″. The rest of it could happen. And that’s science FACT.
  • Oh please…

Everyone, even you, has something to write about. But yes, I’ll accept, that sometimes you sit down and just nothing happens. You shake your pen about, drum the keyboard, ask someone to rub your shoulders, but still – nada.

And that’s where freewriting comes in!

For the past month or so I have been trying to put some time aside to write freely. Some days I will set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and smash out any jumble of words that come to mind. Its quite spectular what the brain can come out with under pressure, and the 200 or so words I manage I can pad out and plump up in my own time. I now have a handful of “usable” short stories from doing this.

I used to do something similar when I was at uni; having just done an essay on Dadaism (yes, I did do English Literature, how I ended up writing about an art movement is another (not very interesting) story) I decided to spend months writing Dada poetry. This basically involved cutting up newspaper and magazine articles, jumbling up the words and pulling them one by one from a box (in my case a Tampax box – yes, I thought I was “that” person) to make a bizarre, and often hilarious, stream of words. Again, a suprising amount of workable material came out.

But, as we have pitifully established, I am not 19 so I can’t as easily get away with pretending to be part of Dada. So, instead, I go to this website for a fix of inspiration. This site is great, you can ask it to spew out a character name, a plot, a first line or a random subject and before you know it you are away! When I use this site I usually give myself 1000 words as a satisfying target to meet. I’ve been pretty pleased with what I have written so far, and I have had the chance to write creatively and biographically.

Now that I’m writing pretty regularly again, I’ve decided to post my efforts on the blog now and then. So don’t be shaken or ask “what the hell is she going on about? This isn’t a review of Franzen’s latest…” if a rambling spiel turns up on your feeds and in your inboxes. I was going to use Wattpad, but most of the advice I read pretty much concurred that if you already have a blog there isn’t much point.

I’ll have the piece (oh, “piece” !) I wrote today up tomorrow (“What is your earliest memory?”), I thought this post was probably enough of a meandering mash or words for one day.

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