Monday, 16 September 2013

Are you writing today or...

I love to write, but I like to do so in silence. No music, no interruptions, just peace and quiet to concentrate on the plot and characters.  Very few of us ever achieve that in today’s world, and I’m no exception.  But like most women, I have a home to run and a family to feed, a dog to be walked and a lawn to be mowed.

My office sits at the top of the stairs where I can hear everything that goes on in the house, from my other half listening to the radio and the dog barking when someone dares to knock on the door.

So how do I manage my time and concentrate on the task in hand?

I’ll admit, some days it is an up hill struggle to put words on the page.  Like today, when I feel I should be working on book four, I’ve spent the morning writing this post for my blog, and researching online book clubs.  I’ve also promoted my books on websites, read friend’s posts on Twitter and Facebook, even baked a blackberry cobbler.  My other half, bless him, has walked the dog, refilled the bird feeders and is now tackling the ironing.  (Ladies, don’t you just love a man who irons his own shirts?)

While this has been going on, part of my brain has been mulling over my plot and trying to convince me that I have enough of a story to fill a 120,000 word novel.  I’ve named my characters, chosen a setting (Scotland) and thrown them into a tricky situation. 

Life isn’t easy; it throws things at us hour-by-hour, day-by-day that make us change our plans.  The same can be said of writing a novel.  You think you have the plot worked out. You sit down and make copious notes, you might even write a detailed outline or jot down ideas for scenes, but once you put pen to paper your brain can take you in a different direction just as life does.

The question a writer must ask, is should they abandon all the work they’ve done already in order to follow this new idea?  No.  Save what you have already written and continue writing, then see where the story takes you.  I have at least three versions of the first two chapters of my current manuscript saved in a file on my computer.  I may not choose to use them in this book, but with a little reworking and different characters, the scene might be suitable for another manuscript. 

Change happens for a reason, and when it comes to writing a novel, it might just make the experience that much better for the reader.  Embrace them, and move forward.