An author mentioned to me a few weeks ago that, sometimes, she gets frustrated because everything else conspires against her writing. eMails, publishers, promotion material, websites, even blogs… all takes up time that could otherwise be used creating something, producing a piece that could be useful.
I think I’m beginning to understand.
It’s always frustrated me that the amount of time for work is constantly being compressed by sorting out and checking contact related feeds and sources. After updating bits and bobs on the Sceatune Games website, on Amazon, here, Facebook, sorting a load of web-related stuff, answering emails (sometimes they are are problem due to my condition, new medication notwithstanding), sort out the MA stuff, deal with home finance and admin, the oh-so-lovely research… I find that there is little time to actually do anything. Sure, some of the emails relate to reader feedback, so that’s good, but I’m mentally frustrated, too, which becomes a problem in itself.
It’s a moan, isn’t it, and one we all have from time to time. It a frustration we can do without because it interferes with the zone that’s needed when writing. For me, that ‘zone’ is something precious, a state of mind that’s almost meditative, like a waking dream that puts itself onto the page through the characters and places that are in your imagination. As you enter and begin putting the ingredients in place a translucent bubble slowly brews and builds until it is all around you, alive, but delicate, see-through but totally absorbing. All your mind is in that world, fragile as it is, and real life seems to become an imaginary, transient existence. The peril is that it doesn’t take much to disturb that bubble and, once shaken, it collapses, unable to survive the shock of reality and needing to be carefully rebuilt once more.
Sometimes I find I am lucky that when the bubble is burst bits of that translucent world linger for a while and can record them before I forget. I’m fortunate that I have a partner – Rosemary – who waits patiently for me to finish when she has to interrupt. She is also great in that, when I am writing, she tries not to disturb me. That’s wonderful. But the outside interferences (the scam phone calls) that are worst – they cause untold damage to that bubble. One’s just called now, hence this gripe.
On the hob
The bubbles, the waking dreams on which I am working are mostly concerned with the MA.
- First are the reviews – only one is at the required length (500w) and the other three need to be pruned drastically – I’ve put the fourth book on which I wrote a review below;
- Second is the reflection/analysis – it’s 3/4 done (1600/2000w), but needs to go back on the dream shelf until the creative response is finished;
- third is the research essay, ‘Gorgeous Garments in Sir Gawain’ , which is proving most difficult as I am way over on wordcount (3500/2000w) and find the research absorbing (another way to not allow the bubble to build!);
- and finally the Creative Response, the radio play ‘Possessions’, which is stuck at around 30 minutes (out of 30-45) because the bubble hasn’t been allowed to build around it.
in the oven
First Centurion. Honestly, it has a priority but keeps getting pushed down due to the others jumping ahead….
On the worktop
The kitchen bench is crowded and I keep having to put things onto the cupboards. A short science fiction story for a magazine is well underway: ‘The Long View‘. Here, a confused undergrad makes an astronomical discovery and then finds himself put into protective custody by Federal agents – but is then ‘rescued’ and put into protective custody by ‘real’ Federal agents. He begins to wonder what that discovery means…
Also here is an entry for the Frome Festival Short Story Competition (I think I’m classed as ‘local’) ‘I fall asleep‘. Feedback on this story is interesting as it has a perspective twist, one reader not realising until they had completely finished, others realising the reality part-way through, at different times.
Anyway, back to the bubbles and I really must stop griping. But I think I’m beginning to develop a bit of empathy. 🙂