Thursday, 18 April 2013

When I want to be writing... Linda Strachan

When I want to be writing...  I find myself doing all sorts of other things.

The story is singing in my head and I want to go and write it. The ideas are flooding in, so why am I not writing?

Why? Because life gets in the way.

It happens all the time and it appears that it has been happening for years because recently I came across my diary from a couple of years ago and I was interested to discover that things were no different then

when instead of writing......

 I had agreed to look after daughter’s cat and had to to keep going round to her house to feed it, pet it, let it in, and let it out, and then in again....  

Popping in to North Berwick High School where some teenagers were organising the launch of my new book (Dead Boy Talking - 2010) and trying not to panic because the launch was just few days away.  To watch them rehearse a short sketch they had written and were going to perform at the launch.

 Visiting our local radio station East Coast FM for a chat.

Cutting up my wedding dress for my little granddaughter, because I had turned the house upside down looking for the family christening dress but we have moved three times since it was last seen, so had agreed to make new one from my wedding dress (let’s face it I was never going to use it again - even if I could have fitted into it, and it looked so sweet on her!)  

Meeting of readers from two different schools who were getting together to discuss the new book at a local library.

I often like to write late in the evening but the last thing I had written in the diary that week was that I was cooking meringues and salmon mousse and lasagne and all sorts of other things in the middle of the night, because although I had started early, one of the kids called to have a chat - so it was now late.. 

 All this was some time ago but although the details change and despite all the other things that make up the tapestry of life, the ideas still sing in my head and somehow they get written.

But perhaps it is all the other things that provide the lyrics and music for the story song in my head. So when I want to be writing it is sometimes just that the words have not quite reached the paper.


Linda Strachan is the author of over 60 books for all ages from picture books to teenage novels and a writing handbook Writing For Children 

Her latest novel is Don't Judge Me  published by Strident 2012 




Penny Dolan said...

Lovely thoughts, Linda, and maybe a less-stressful approach for writers busy with life or family just now.

Sue Purkiss said...

That dress is lovely!

Linda Strachan said...

Hi, Penny, we all live in our heads most of the time, don't we, and while things are busy on the outside the subconscious is still working!

Thanks, Sue. It felt a bit strange when we started cutting it out but it was worth it!

Anonymous said...

I think that every "alternative" actvity you describe is important. There is a feeling (at least one I have) that suggests that every minute not spent writing is wasted. But even Office Cleaners and Presidents have to do their own housekeeping and we would do well to remember that x

Linda Strachan said...

Skybluepinkish (love the name)
I agree. If we spent all our time writing and nothing else it would be rather dull stuff, I think, as would we.

A writer's imagination is fed by everything that we do and everything that is around us but yes, for me too, there is always that feeling that I should be writing!

Stroppy Author said...

As you've published so many books, it seems to work for you, Linda. But I'd be very wary of giving other people the impression my work can be set aside for their convenience. If you were a denstist or a plumber or a banker they wouldn't assume you would drop work to do domestic favours.

It's true, though, that we need that composting time for ideas to sort themselves out and the words to line up nicely rather than squabbling and kicking each other :-)

Linda Strachan said...

Of course, you are right, Stroppy!

People often think that because you are at home you are 'available' and I make it very clear that I am working.
I think this post was more about all the times I have other writing related things to do, that are not writing. But also the sudden loss of an old friend reminded me once more how important the people in our lives are - if you recall Liz Kessler's recent post on the subject.

But, as Lucy Coats says in today's excellent post, there are times to clear the decks and lock yourself away and write. I am just at the end of a period of events and school visits when there was little or no free time or energy to immerse myself in the creative process.
Some of that time I was 'composting' ideas but they have had to stay in the background. Now I am back to clearing the decks and all set to get back to the business of writing, and looking forward to it!