Thursday, April 14, 2011

Performance anxiety?

Hello from the writing desk! I'm excited to say that I'm back in the saddle this week, too, and I have 2500 new words. I have a new approach, a new perspective, and a whole new attitude, and I'm excited to be getting back into it after a three-month break.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment last week on our interview with Chris Womersley. Using a random number generator to choose, the winner of the copy of Bereft was:


Congratulations, Esme :) Send me an email or a Facebook message and let me know if you'd rather an e-book or a hard-copy version, and we'll get that sent out.

If you missed out this time, keep an eye out- we have another interview coming up soon, and a really big one scheduled for the end of May.

I'll keep the real post short today.

Getting back into the writing hasn't been easy this time around. Last time I finished a draft, I thought I was all done. Really, truly. So did everyone else. When I told a friend a couple of days ago that I was going back to the start again for the next draft, she was a bit stunned, and asked me if I was having some kind of performance anxiety, always thinking that what I had wasn't quite good enough.

I'm not, you'll be pleased to know. I'm still happy with what I've written, and with my characters. What I'm not happy with is the plot and the central theme of the story- the big guns, and the stuff that can't be renovated- it has to be rebuilt. I've spent the last three months ruminating on those, going back to my earliest notes on the story, reviewing all the inspirations for it, and there have been lightbulbs going on all over the place.

When I was writing the last draft, I was so in the thick of the forest that I didn't really stop to examine the trees. This time around, I'm treading more carefully. I'm not changing my process in any way- what I *am* doing is slowing it down.

From someone who wrote more than 20,000 words in four different months of last year, and more than 50,000 in two of those, you'll understand that this is a real change for me.

Normally, I'm a bit frantic to make hay while the sun shines and write as much as I can while I have the motivation, inspiration and space. I'll still always write that fast- but this time, I'm taking breaks between scenes and chapters. Letting them digest a little before moving on to the next course.

It's already working. It's not a matter of rethinking what I've just written so much as remembering what I wanted to include, but forgot. When I'm moving too fast, I don't have time to consider whether anything might have fallen off the roof of the proverbial car, and I certainly won't see it in my rear-view. Moving more slowly means I can stop, back up, and collect anything I did inadvertently lose. This both saves me effort when I'm revising, and most importantly, means that I'm not going to end up heading off in the wrong direction and be too far down the path before I realise (that's not part of the umpteenth metaphor, just a fact).

Wishing you all good writing and plenty of inner peace. Send those vibes back my way while you're at it!


  1. Well, as they say, slow and steady wins the race (that's the wisdom I'm holding on to at any rate, to justify my glacial pace.) ;-P

    Good luck!

  2. Congratulations Esme!

    Sending you lots of writing vibes, Claire. Hope some of it flows back to me...