Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Failwriter on failing.

The Shrew can laugh and giggle and talk back to me now - in his own nonsense language. It's astounding really. He becomes more like a little person every day. Talking of days...

Lets talk about 'write every day.'

This is one of those maxim's; like 'show don't tell' that is handed out as really good advice. It is. But it is not the best advice I've ever had. The best advice I've had is 'do whatever works for you.'

But that 'write every day' haunts me. It really does. I feel like I should be writing every day even though I've found it doesn't work for me. Sure, I think about writing every day and if you're unlucky enough to get me on the topic of books or writing I can talk about it at great length until you suddenly find yourself with something urgent to do that is away away from me and endless talk of words. But actually writing every day ends up being counter productive. And inevitably, instills a certain sulkiness in the RJ.

Take chapter six. I got stuck. After nearly 30,000 words of plain sailing I was stuck. Couldn't skip it, too important. Couldn't go forward as something was wrong and I didn't know what.

I should have walked away and let the daydreams mess about with the jigsaw in my head until it clicked. But I had that 'write every day' in there. Cackling at me. 'If you don't write every day you'll never be a real writer. Write every day. Don't make excuses. WRITE EVERY DAY! DAMN YOU!'

So I was, creeping forwards in fits and starts, sometimes only one word in a day. Too irritating to blog about.

Now. This isn't writers block. Or woe-is-me hand stapled to the forehead suffering for your art type of thing. It's just a small vexation*. An example of how good advice in general is not good advice for everyone.

I left FT alone for a bit. Thought about it. C6 stood at about 5000 words at this point and I knew most of them were awful. Really just rubbish and they nagged at me as their direction was also off. Just awful I can cope with. Direction being wrong I can't as it means vast amounts of work later on. I hate work.

So I did what I should have done already. Stopped.

After a bit of dithering about, reading, playing Shrew games on the floor, it came. A sudden realization that this bit shouldn't go there it should go later and the later bit I really had been wanting to write for weeks should go where I was now. So I split the chapter, cutting it down to 3200 words. Struggled a bit with the next thousand as I felt like I was going backwards but got them done (still not great but done and a lot more easily than the it had been up to that point.) Now I am at the bit I really want to write. Good oh.

This is how I write. Fits and starts. Little bits, dribs and drabs. Bit of thinking. Stop. Then splurge out five thousand words or so and slow down again. A bit like one of those bucking bronco rides you see. Slow, slow, fast, slow. Probably, this method is due to my ailing health and fitting stuff in around that. It also works with the child, though I have less freedom to just write when it hits now. Still, the Rookmother doesn't mind me staying up until all hours if I so desire and everything is fine.

Now I get to write the bit I want. I am excited about it. But very tired. One will fight the other.

Fun, fun, fun.

(Best Shrew words at the moment. Man-ning! Man-ning-nah!)

(Wordcount - 4316)

*Also one of the reasons I try not to read blogs by name writers anymore. You read how they do things and think, 'ooh maybe that would help me.' All it does is mess up whatever system you have in place. Cue sulking.


  1. It probably wouldn't help to hear that writing every day works really well for me. I set myself 1000 words and don't go to bed until it's done. 3 months later there's a book...

    However, I did spend three months planning the book before I wrote a single constructive sentence, so that makes the whole thing go a lot more smoothly.

  2. I think, for me, because my health is rubbish I inevitably can't do it everyday. Then I have to try and catch up if I've set myself a target. If I can't catch up I start thinking I've let myself down in some way.

    So starts the cycle of fail...


  3. The Rookmother, ace.

    You are a wonderfully entertaining chap.

    I look forward to reading your book once it escapes into the world.