Monday, 15 September 2008

No Rules! by Linda Strachan

I remember those heady days when I first started writing.
I came to it rather late and almost unexpectedly. I am not one of those fortunate people who have always known they wanted to write, as with other things in life it took me a while to catch on. Although when I look back I was always dabbling with stories and poetry but the idea of publication never entered my head, it was completely outside my radar.

So when, after trying for publication for a relatively short time, I was lucky enough to get my first contract and had my first books published, I was delighted to take notebook and pen -later a laptop- away with us whenever we escaped for a weekend or week away from home, work and family. In fact at any moment of free time I would happily be seen scribbling in my notebook and working on stories and ideas, delighting in my new occupation.

It was a few years later, when I was able to see that being a ‘writer’ could possibly be a full time ‘job’ and I was writing or doing writing related tasks every day, I thought that perhaps writing when we went for a break away was not actually getting away, I was taking work with me.

So I gave myself some rules and purposely tried not to write when away for a weekend or holiday, to give myself a break from the pressures and allow my imagination to wander with no thought of how this or that would turn into a story, or become part of a storyline I was writing. I began to wonder when this delightful ‘free spirit’ occupation that I loved had turned into a 9-5 job!

Although I do always have at least a notebook with me for those ideas that might evaporate if not noted down, and the wonderful moments of EUREKA! when a plotline that had been stubbornly refusing to sort itself out becomes clear; I try not to write at all and the reality is that it does work - to some degree.

You see I discovered that those free idle days trying not to think about writing are at times the most creative because it allows the subconscious to take over and sift through things.

In fact going away and letting my mind wander is almost as much of a problem because I come back with IDEAS! With half thought-out stories and snippets that make me want to discard anything else I and writing and start on them…
I suppose the joys -and the tribulations - of being a writer is that you can’t help but think about it all the time! So now I have decided - NO RULES! Which is fine, because I suppose I prefer to be a bit of rebel anyway.

1 comment:

LynnHC said...

This rang a bell with me, Linda! I find it really hard to leave work at home and it's easy to become consumed with writing - and that flexible career suddenly becomes ever present. Thanks for the reminder :)