Thursday 15 November 2018

Endurance 2.0 by Rowena House

This blog is short because I’m in a mood, mostly about the state of our Brexit-ing, badger-culling nation, although that news about David Walliams selling 111,057 copies of his latest book in three days didn’t help much. I mean, Jeez. How many copies of the damn thing are out there? Anyhow, there’s no point in dwelling so I won’t.

Back in January last year, when I must have been grumpy too, I began an ABBA blog with this quote from US screenwriting guru, Robert McKee: ‘Long before you finish [writing], the love of self will rot and die, the love of ideas sicken and perish...  Of all the reasons for wanting to write, the only one that nurtures us through time is love of the work itself.’

Sadly, at the moment, this ‘love of the work’ has slipped away, too. Not forever, I’m sure. It’s more like a kindly relative politely removing themselves from the equation because real life - family, the day job etc. - are taking up all of my headspace and there’s none left over for telling stories.

This is a weird feeling after more than a decade with characters chattering away in my imagination, or moodily silent but still there.

It’s also a shame after such an energizing time at the start of the month, when I talked and talked books and writing with fab fellow debuts, Tracey Mathais and Liz McWhirter at our inaugural book tour events in Scotland.

Then there was a lovely announcement that both The Goose Road and Liz’s Black Snow Falling had been nominated for the Carnegie Medal. How wonderful! A dream come true. I’m truly, madly, deeply grateful to whoever nominated my book.

Now you might think that, taken together, such good stuff would be enough to get the words flowing again. After all, lots of people have to steal, beg and borrow time out of their busy lives to write. But single-mindedness is a family trait. And, to be honest, I’m demotivated by the economics of this business, which put the biggest financial risks onto the author. But what the heck. We all know this. Short of a strike by every writer out there, it’s not going to change.  

So today I’m telling myself (once again) that it’s OK to stop writing for a while. Weeks, months, whatever it takes. It might feel like a luxury coming back.

I’ve thought before how keeping the desire to write alive is like tending an uncertain fire, feeding it at times, at other times trusting the embers will reignite. On this dark, chill November night, I hope your fire is burning brighter than mine.


Lynda Waterhouse said...

Your embers will ignite - I feel it in my waters! Thank you for writing this post.

Rowena House said...

Thank you, Lynda. Trusting your waters!

Claire Fayers said...

Thank you for writing this. Sometimes the best thing we can do is walk away for a while and let the embers rest. A new story will find you.

Jennifer Moore said...

I'm sure the ideas are only hibernating, Rowena. (And who can blame them at the moment?!) Here's to an early Spring...