Check back here every Wednesday for a few thoughts on the craft. Here are today's:
Writing novels is work. For me, going into the cave — what I call it when I get away to actually do the spade work (to mix a metaphor) on a novel — is so grueling that I compare it to mining, battle, and digging trenches.
I call it going into the cave because if I don’t get away, I am easily distracted. I’m terminally curious. Who’s pulling up? Who’s at the door? Who was that on the phone? What’s in the mail? How’s everyone doing? What’s going on?
If I try to write in that environment, some weird thing in my brain makes me think everything else has to be done first. I like a clean desk, but normally mine is stacked and cluttered until I get tired of it or need to clear the decks before a trip. But when a deadline looms, suddenly being a neat-nik consumes me. Every letter and e-mail has to be answered, things organized, phone calls returned.
The only solution is to get away, to go into the cave – mine happens to be in the middle of the state of Colorado, about 80 miles west of where we live. My goal is to leave myself nothing to do but procrastinate or write. It’s the only thing that works for me.
I can write in chaos; I know it. I cut my teeth in daily newspapering where 40 people shared desks in a huge room. Action and noise everywhere. If you were on deadline, you had to concentrate and write anyway.
But for some reason, to write fiction I need to be isolated with nothing else to do.
How do you work? Where do you write? For some reason, this seems of interest to other writers, even readers.
I’d like to know about you. Write and tell me, and maybe it will find its way into this blog.
REVered - John Stott Died Today
5 years ago