Turning the writing switch to ‘ON’
I’ve been procrastinating a bit lately. I have a children’s novel to re-draft and have got as far as sketching out ideas for how to do this and that’s as far as I’ve got. I really should be working on it – after all, I’ve already spent two years writing it and I have a list of people to send it to once done. But somehow, I haven’t been able to settle to it. There are a lot of feelings that go along with that resistance, including the annoying voices yelling at me:
“Well, you’re not a proper writer if you don’t do *,000 words every day.”
“How do you ever expect to get a book published if you’re just going to sit and drink tea and STARE out of the window?”
I HATE those voices. All they serve to do is generate even more avoidance strategies. But, there is an element of truth in them too, isn’t there? The words won’t drip from the pen if I don’t pick it up!
So, in at attempt to get back into authorly mode, I decided to update my Contact an Author page. In case you don’t know, Contact an Author is a site for published authors to list themselves as available for workshops/visits/talks etc. For the £45 registration fee, it really is worth it. In fact, the majority of my visits have come via this site. Anyway, two days after giving my page – which you can see here – a bit of a facelift, I was contacted by a lady from The Kumon Crookes English and Maths Study Centre, asking if I could do a visit for their Community Reading Event on 19th July to raise money for The National Literacy Trust. Of course, I said ‘yes’. For those of you who have done writerly type events before, you’ll know this means a flurry of planning: ordering copies of your books, preparing resources and counting how many you have of this and that – it is destined to get a procrastinating author back into authorly mode.
But I still didn’t feel like writing and definitely wasn’t ready to tackle that manuscript. So I sat down to watch a film – Amelie. Okay, it came out thirteen years ago – I am a bit late! But, it matters not. It was fabulous! Wonderful! Inspiring! You can see a clip here. I went to bed with a smile on my face, ideas buzzing, and dreamt strange and quirky dreams. I woke with a new female character in my head and made a couple of pages of notes on her. Then It got me thinking about a male character I’ve been jotting down some ideas for along with a vague plot outline. I wondered if I could tie the two ideas together, and as I thought about how that might happen it started to happen. The beginnings of the something (that may turn out to be something and may turn out to be nothing) are in here and I rather like them:
Okay, I STILL haven’t tackled the problematic manuscript yet, but now I know I will because I am back in that place where I feel I can, where I feel the story deserves it. I also know that while I am tackling the nitty gritty of plotting and fine-tuning the troublesome manuscript, I can be collating ideas and images for THE NEW IDEA, which also means a new Pinterest board… yippee! You see, I am getting excited about writing all over again!
And, an unexpected plus of the above is that watching Amelie reminded me how much I love French films. There’s something about hearing the words in such a beautiful language (with subtitles, of course) and the artistry and imagination that goes into their making. Needless to say, I have just ordered three more and can’t wait to watch them and wait to be inspired.
I guess what I’m saying is this: sometimes, it’s the little things that kick-start us again, and maybe we just have to cut ourselves some slack once in a while, bat away the whining, self-deprecating voices, and allow things to happen when they’re meant to. There will always be something that turns that switch to ‘ON’ again.
What turns your off switch to on?