Wednesday, 14 January 2009

This Fotherington Thomas Moment: Penny Dolan

Joy! This week feels like the proper start of the New Year for me. The last round of visitors has gone, and all is calm again, apart from sheet-mountains to wash, and a cornucopia of left-over festive fruit that needs eating.

Even more joyfully, I am now at a most delightful stage with The Tome. The long trudge of tense-changing is past. Now I feel as if I’m skipping along like a latter day Fotherington-Thomas from Molesworth, changing a word here, tightening a description there, reading aloud as I go. Hello sky, hello birds! Absolute, utter pleasure! Apart, that is, from the need to get everything done so that The Tome will be on desks in London by next Monday morning. Feel my sense of writerly leisure shifting already.

Lately - maybe through this very blog - I’ve become concious of how quickly some writers write. Four novels a year? No problem! This shouldn’t be a surprise, as we all read at different paces and in different ways, according to energy and circumstance. But I know The Tome has been slow work, and the plan for Tome Two glows on the horizon., so upping the output is on of my great intentions for 2009.

I had come across a useful book that promised to help with writerly procrastination. You had to write responses to various questions with your dominant hand and then with your non-dominant, and compare the different responses you got. Another task was to work out your own best writing time by colouring in a time grid in the hues of your choice to indicate your energy and mood levels.

It was all the most valuable stuff, but then I couldn’t decide on which colour to choose for which mood or energy. Is 6am a turquoise blue or a sludgy grey? Then the storyteller in me started to script the subconscious replies. What do you fear about writing? That I’ll lose my special sparkly pencil, the one with all the ideas in. . . That my very own words have returned to haunt me Aaagh! Thud! . . . So I put the book down for a while, about a month or so ago . . .

Enough - back to The Tome! Happy Writing, everyone.


Lucy Coats said...

Oh please, Penny. Tell me what that book is! Not sure it will help with the procrastination problem (ie being on blog/Facebook/Scrabble/insert almost anything) when writing should be taking place. But hope springeth eternal (what ho!), Molesworth!

Penny said...

Lucy, many thanks for your encouragement. I'm not being coy about the Tome. The problem is that the editors are sure the like what is the working title. I've known the book by this name for ages (and have bored many generous writing friends with my moans) but I feel odd about spreading a title that the book may not even be known by!

Penny said...

Obviously I meant "the editors aren't sure they like what is the working title . . ." So you can tell what my own editing skills are like by this point in the afternoon. Apologies!