The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire lifeZadie Smith
Why am I writing THIS novel? Why am I writing it NOW?
We need to get to the root of my story…..
Is this story actually my truth?
Does it successfully and eloquently articulate the struggles,? The questions? The confusions of life? Does it ask and try to answer the BIG quandries?
Life eh – There’s no weekly email newsletter we can subscribe to which might act as a handbook – no roadmap to steer us from young to old.
We have to work this shit out ourselves.
If we’re lucky enough to meet someone who gives us the courage to tackle the questions, then that makes for a golden life.
It took me 47 years. And 8 years later it is still getting more golden by the day.
We’ve been married for 7 of those years – I have whatever is the opposite of a 7 year itch.
7 Years today, if you’re reading this, er, TODAY! (May 16th)
Yes, we’re celebrating the best 7 years of my life. Nicky truly has asked me over and over, “why shouldn’t people like ‘us’ chase our dreams?”
And so I write.
I’m getting much better at writing a shit sentence. I am allowing myself simply get the thoughts out of my head. Releasing them it into the physical world makes them real. My story needs to be a presence – a sentence may be shit, and I might cringe as I write it, but once typed, it is there ready to be edited.
You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.Jodi Picoult
So, my book.
What book? The one I affectionately nick name DTDLLTO (working title Dogs That Don’t Look Like Their Owners). My first book, my first novel, my first attempt to tell the truth and have the conviction to carry it through.
I was stuttering with it, but this year, particularly with my new gung ho draft zero approach, it has started to flow from me.
I needed the freedom, the freedom to choose to look inside myself, to find the truths of who I am.
I give myself permission to write it.
What are my truths? What are my stories? Who should be telling my truths and who has the authority to narrate my stories? Well, I’m finding out…..
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.Maya Angelou
Traps I’m trying to avoid – creating a character in the shadow of me. I started taking all of the parts of my life where I believe I am morally right and getting my character to ‘virtue signal’ through their behaviour.
As Brad Listi says, the reader will spot the puppet strings pretty quickly. It’s bullshit anyway, nobody is that morally pure!
Who am I writing the book for?
Does it even need readers? Am I the author and the reader? Are you the reader? One tip I’ve heard is to imagine how different the story would be if it was read allowed to my mum, or my boss, or my best friend, or YOU! It’s a great exercise in finding the right voice.
In the first draft, everything seems to be all too obvious. It is in no way elegant. Yet. Hopefully this draft will contain the truth though and I can add my wished for subtlety in future drafts. I don’t want to dictate to the reader, whoever that might be.
There weren’t many words last week, about a 1000. What I have achieved is the feeling of why I’m writing this story and I’ve given myself the go ahead to crack on.
Life is confusing. Our emotions are confusing. Our opinions can feel confusing. The challenge for me is to harness all that confusion and let my two main characters in DTDLLTO navigate the swirling waters of truth.
You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.F Scott Fitzgerald
Social media has us by the balls!
I’m still a Twitter addict and as with every other addiction that I’m recovering from, moderation seems to be an impossible option. I need to find a solution though because I like Twitter for the communities I’m lucky enough to be part of. I’m not great at ‘real life’ socialising, and the running, writing and Coventry City supporting friends I’ve made on Twitter have become important to me.
I’ve installed an app to monitor my internet use and have set limits for the sites I use – It’s working so far I’m pleased to say. Let’s see if more efficient Twitter time translates into more productive writing time!
Come on, let’s hurl ourselves into the next creative week.