The long and winding road

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”
Jack London

Well today I have absolutely nothing to say. I’m ensnared with new work hours and wedding planning and so my writing accomplishments are presently few and far between. I am spending a lot of money, though.

But a writer never really stops working. Everything is work for someone who thinks for a living. Every scrap of conversation overheard, every odd accent, unusual phrasing; every odd bit of architecture, everything the makes you think in a different way- that’s work for a writer. And that’s just the beginning, just the shallow, the obvious.

It’s a strange fact that most of a writer’s work is done away from the computer/typewriter/notebook. The most important time is that spent allowing the subconscious to roll things around. Time spent staring off into the distance thinking of nothing. That’s where the real work is done, where the imagination comes out to play. Sure, we need to get our thoughts down on paper eventually, and that can be damn hard. But that’s craft. That’s not art. The art comes when I take a break from the slog and go do the washing up.

I do most of my actual thinking either on the bus or just before I drift off to sleep. Most of my writing comes from the tales I tell myself – the bedtime stories and the resulting nightmares. That’s my inspiration and that, in turn, comes from living and constantly learning about the world, the universe around me. From simply being a human being; that’s all I need.

That and the loan of other people’s minds via their books. That helps too.

*          *          *

Hope this image comes out okay. It’s the first page of the Night Shift plan I’m currently working from. I’ve been talking recently about editing and how I’m trying to learn new ways of working: well – if you’re interested – here’s how I’m going about it.

I’ve broken the entire novel down into scenes, drawing up a chart of what happens, to whom and the long-term significance of events. There’s also a column for changes I want to make. As you can see, that’s just the start. The real value (to me) in this exercise is the ability to scribble all over it with thoughts, ideas and random doodles.

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