On being a writer...

A celebration of the writing process, of being a writer, of all the weird things that pass through a writing brain...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

controlled panic

I found myself using this phrase when explaining to a friend my current frame of mind when writing my new book.

And I was talking to my son in his final year at university who describes a similar state (sometimes not controlled).  It sounds like a ridiculous contradiction - controlled panic - but is there any other way of writing to a deadline?

The point is that no piece of writing is ever perfect, and unless it's a shopping list or such, most writing is going to have an element of the unknown about it.  Essentially the unknown is:  Will my brain produce the write words, any words, in time?

There doesn't seem to be a way of being entirely calm about this.  Creativity comes at a price.  What's inside has to come out, and the process of writing is like the unlatching of a box of tricks.  We just don't know what's inside.  Perhaps that's why we're all so scared.

A novel is a particularly tough mountain to climb because there's just so much of it.  I always have a slight feeling that if I don't write fast enough, I might not capture all the words that are out there.  It will all just flit away - not what I know for sure what the 'it' is.

I crave work that is just calm and final - like washing up or making beds.  I've craved all my life work that is finite.  But goodness knows what I'd do with my spin drier psyche if there wasn't a book to write.

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