Getting to the End…

One of those days when concentrating is difficult: I have to work around the family, getting a new tent sealed ready for a three day hike, walking the dogs, writing up the short list and winner of a prize, deal with emails and phone calls … and it’s not easy.

The simple fact is, as a writer I need regular bursts of time when I can work without interruption. All writers will have the same requirement for no interruptions. If I get a phone call in the middle of a scene, that phone call may not cost me the whole of a poem, like the visiting irritant to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but it will cost me a good half hour to read myself back into the scene and into the mood. That’s half an hour I can ill-afford. Just as 

I always say to new writers, or people who express an interest in writing, that the first thing to get rid of is any interruptions. That means no TV, no radio, no internet, and no phones. Not only because of calls, but because Facebook, Twitter, ebay, LinkedIn and all the other goodies are certain to destroy your train of thought.

It is actually a lot worse than that. Pity the poor spouse, other half, significant other, partner or whatever you fancy calling him/her. 

Why pity them? Because they are the ones who will bear the brunt of your mood-swings – but, worse than that, they will also have to cope with your inability to listen. While you’re being asked about what shopping is needed, you will be thinking about that murder on page 27 – was it too graphic? – or the way that you described the assassin on page 143 – did she need to be that good looking? – or the victim on page 221 – surely he didn’t have his head completely removed?

And then you will be wandering about the house looking lost, thinking about the scenes of carnage, and letting the toast burn (mine this morning), or leaving the soup to boil over, or forgetting that the dog is still in the yard and it’s raining like the monsoon out there. 

In short, people who are married to writers need to get used to being loners, because all the time you are writing, they are entirely alone.

I have learned over time that my best working time is from mid-afternoon to late evening. I usually stop work at about midnight. But that doesn’t mean I’m not working in the morning. I may walk the dogs, but I’ll try to read while doing so, because I get little time to read apart from then. And I’ll write emails, tweets and facebook messages, taken photos for Instagram, and do a number of other work related activities. But that is only so that I can jump straight back into editing and writing as soon as I get back. 

Although today has been a bad writing day (sorting all the purchases/sales for the last quarter so that the VAT and accounts are up to date), at least I do know I’m on the final stretch. It is possible I’ll finish the straight-line writing today. I may be a little late, in which case I’ll finish it hopefully tomorrow. Then it’ll be time to print the whole thing and begin the serious edit. 

But first, I will be taking a little time off. I won’t do much on Sunday, because I’ll be dancing with Tinners’ Morris at the Sidmouth Folk Festival. You want to see us? We’ll be opposite the Yacht club and old RNLI station, dancing on the seafront itself. And then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be walking along the South Coast path around the Lizard with a friend, before dancing with Tinners’ again at the Okehampton Show. So the next blog post will be later in the week!

Have a good week, and wish me luck. I’ll need it!

One Response to “Getting to the End…”
  1. Lindsey Russell says:

    My interruption is the heat – unfortunately I can’t turn it off or ignore it as I suffer from malignant hyperthermia :( , Only way round it is to write late evening into the early hours (5.00am sometimes).


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