Starting is the first and worst hurdle. Novel Two (working title Witch) is whirling round in my head. It wont come out. Why? I have time, I am disciplined, I rise every morning and write my morning pages. I decide what to do for the day and then…well then I faff about doing anything and everything other than what I am suppose to do. I write my dreaded lists and I go through the motions.
I know! I will do some research, at least that’s something towards the novel.
I know! I will read novels about the period I intend to write from. I will find books with a similar voice. That is all working towards the novel, isn’t it?
What about the music of the period. I’ll just go and dig out some old CDs.
And then synchronicity steps in. I work on Week Nine of Julia Cameron’s Artist Way and read an insightful piece of advise. New projects are scary, she says, procrastination isn’t laziness, it’s fear. What good is discipline without Enthusiasm?
Enthusiasm, I can do that. I put down another 1500 words and I wait. Ideas seep in.
I re-read some of my old note books from 2005, when I had a break neck busy life. I now count my blessings and read some Stephen King advice.
In his excellent memoir On Writing he states that he writes 2000 words every day, even on Christmas Day, not because he has to but because he wants to. That’s Enthusiasm.
Then it happens. I wake early with ideas bouncing off every brain cell active at 6.00am. I rise Enthusiastically, turn on the PC and chisel out the stuck words.
My Enthusiasm returns with a vengeance so look out.
Pumpkin Soup or Old Faithful
Today I made pumpkin soup from a featured recipe off the 101cookbook blog, well it’s that time of year isn’t it?
The colour was zen like, the taste divine,
but I made it so thick,
when I heated the gloop
Old Faithful erupted in the pan.
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
I first heard of Barbara Kingsolver when I stumbled upon an interview with her on Radio Scotland’s Book Café. There she discussed her latest book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and an Oprah choice The Poisonwood Bible. My local library had neither on their shelves, but offered her debut novel The Bean Trees.
This charming tale tells the story of Taylor Greer, a poor small town girl who leaves home to avoid an inevitable future of babies and maybe marriage.
When her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, an Indian lady dumps a bundle in Taylor’s car, a bundle that is a small girl previously subjected to physical and sexual abuse. Taylor, described in the blurb as ‘plucky’, embarks on a search for a home for herself and the little Indian girl and finds both amongst good people in Tucson, Arizona.
The story is a simple one of love, friendship and human compassion told in an easy page turning style. There are a number of serious issues raised and aired but Kingsolver resisted delving too deep.
Here’s my procrastination procedure: I’ve convinced myself my novel would slide out with ease if I were to put aside the laptop and write it longhand. It’s the laptop’s fault! The internet access, the commissioned work not yet finished, the podcasts and music, the email to send! All these distractions are inhibiting me! I must get back to basics!But since I haven’t written full sentences longhand since, oh 1999— pen and paper, how quaint!— I don’t have the muscles anymore. My hand cramps up, and I can’t very well be creative while I’m in pain, can I? So back to the laptop….In the US and Canada, Kingsolver is best known for The Poisonwood Bible. It was an Oprah book, I believe during the book club’s first incarnation. It’s illuminating and sad, and well worth searching out, if you’re at the bottom of your to-read pile.
MoiraThanks for the soup. Had for lunch in the office – tasted delicious.Col
Writing in longhand is a treat for me. Every morning I spill out my dreams, my worries and my plans onto morning pages, before I drag myself to the laptop. I relish the scratch of ink across the crisp white page with new ideas and often continue on from my morning pages and work on a story. Once the ideas are down it is easier to power up and transfer the words to something sensible, adding and chopping as I go.I get distracted by emails and stuff I have to look up so I tend to leave the wireless connection turned off in the morning and concentrate on the words.