October’s writing – write, delete, repeat.

typewriterBack at the end of September I mapped out my writing plans for October and was feeling pretty positive. You can already see that ‘but’ looming can’t you? The ‘but’ is that the cold I came down with in September lingered for weeks in the form of a rattly chest and a thick-headed weariness. I still feel a bit sluggish. And there are other things to deal with – Christmas is a busy time for Glenogle and Bell and we need to get organised for that, plus we’re looking at the possibility of moving house so have had a procession of estate agents trooping through with their opinions and pitches. None of this is conducive to writing. At least, not for me, the queen of procrastination and empress of displacement activity.

Mostly, it’s been that I haven’t had a clue what to do with the novel. Following some agent and editor feedback I’m reworking it to tighten the plot up which is fine and should be pretty straightforward but I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed by the scale of it. And dismantling and rebuilding something that I’ve spent so long on feels like a retrograde step, bogging me down when I want to start with one of the other ideas waiting impatiently at the back of my mind.

I’ve been putting in the hours, mostly writing and deleting the same thousand words or so and not really making any progress. Last week I had a bit of a breakthrough and the answer to the ‘what to do’ problem came to me and now I’m feeling much better about what I’m doing, in control rather than chasing a plot that’s running away from me.

That moment of clarity happened when I was working in one of the cafes I favour for writing in and reminded me that I need to reestablish a routine – that lovely fizzing feeling when the words are flowing almost without effort comes along most reliably when I keep to good habits.

So October’s writing goal is to make sure that I do that. Mornings are the best time for me to write and so I’m going to make sure that I don’t allow the hundreds of things on my to-do list to niggle at me until I’ve spent a couple of hours doing just that whether in a coffee shop or at home with Freedom turned on.

Goal for October: first 20k words in a state where I can let other people see them and to make sure that I’ve made a detailed plan for the rest of it, tying up all the dangling loose ends. Writing that on the 1st November that feels very manageable. Let’s hope that when I check in on the 1st December I can tell you that I did it.

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