Only a short one from me this month, because in the reduced amount of time I have to write since beginning my stint of parental ‘leave’, a new creature has suddenly emerged, and it is demanding attention. It’s familiar, but I haven’t seen it for a while.
At first when it appeared, I was suspicious. It seemed too good to be true. I looked at it more closely and realised that, like a loveable dog at a rescue centre that turns out to be fully grown and completely unruly, it might quickly prove to be a lot of effort for not much apparent gain. But it was such an attractive prospect that I couldn’t help myself. I opened the cage door and took it home.
‘It’ was a completely new story that I really wanted to write. Just that. I’ve finished my last contracted book, so was thinking – I have to write something really special, now, to attract the attention of a publisher. Trouble was, I had plenty of ideas, but… I just really couldn’t summon up the will or desire to begin writing them. It got so bad that I found myself ranting the other day about how I spent my time encouraging others to write, telling them it was the route to freedom and happiness, but I was a complete fraud, because it wasn’t like that for me at all. I had to be so self-conscious about everything I wrote that I hardly ever enjoyed writing anymore, and I couldn’t see that I ever would again.
But here I am, free. No publishing contract. If this new story is no good, I don’t even have to show it to anyone. It’s like those old days of being a child and writing purely for my own pleasure. Of course I still have all the more grown up responsibilities. It’s just that – somehow – for a magic few moments, I’ve managed to forget them. It’s as if I’ve struggled out of a cave and come blinking into the sunlight. How often does this happen in a writing life? In mine – maybe just enough.
I’m interested in how I did manage to get out, but I feel that I don’t have time to look back at the moment and understand it. It’s a shame – I think understanding might help a lot when next I duck my head back underground and lose sight of the sun. But the story is rushing at me, demanding my attention. It’s telling me it might not be anything special – there are plenty of books about ponies already. But, like the untrained dog, loveable and wild, it’s leaping at my heels and telling me to throw it a ball – it’ll run and chase it and bring it back to me, and I’ll throw it again, and it’ll chase again, and oh, we’ll have so much fun –
Planning? Structure? Research?
Nope, this time I’m running with it.
(photos posed by a model - with thanks to Layla)