Friday, 23 March 2012

Give Your Writing the Gift of Time: A Friday musing.

This is something I have touched upon before - and it's the idea of time and writing. I often read interviews or look at fellow writers' websites and marvel at their catalogue of work; some seem so positively prolific that I can only assume that writing is pretty much all they must actually do. In truth the idea of this makes me slightly jealous - to have created so many fully formed stories and characters.

Then just when I'm feeling down on my self, thinking I should be dedicating more hourage to the writing and less to the sleeping, I find a fellow writer who also struggles with an 'efficient' output of work; whose every page and scene is laboured over, crafted and re-crafted; whose characters have to go away for a sabbatical or a conference with others and then come back to instruct their keyboard-slave on what to write.

I'm not implying that this somehow makes these works more worthy, or better crafted - it doesn't; some writers are naturally gifted with the ability to let it flow and pour and it still be well written - but it does mean these works are different; they're different in that these laboured, matured, time laden works are different to the books they would have been if they'd been published within months of conception.

It's taken me four years to write the Knight Trilogy - which isn't a bad pace at approximately a book every 14 mths and the last one has taken me the longest. Now of course that is because life of a working-mother-writer is quite full on, and writing has to be slipped in around the edges of a frenetic life -but just when the frustration of not being able to spend whole blissful quiet days of writing really hurts, I tell myself that my circumstance may have some writing advantages.

Because I am forced to set my work aside (often for weeks at a time) it allows a certain maturation to take place - like cheese. (Hmm, perhaps not the best example - let's say wine.) And it's amazing what transformations take place in this set aside time; illuminations regarding character, realisations of structural gaps, full 180 degree changes of direction, an avoidance of repeated word use (I seem to have words of the moment) and a greater clarity about style. You'd be amazed how many times you write a sentence one month thinking it to be the most weighted, poetical sentence you've ever wrenched from your mind, only to read it a month later and realise it sucks and clearly you were under the influence.

One day I am going to be 'brave' and 'free' enough to pound out a novel and get it out in a three month span; this is a personal challenge I have set myself. And, if you are a speedy writer / publisher maybe think about setting yourself the challenge of filling a whole year writing one work (that doesn't mean write it in January and re-visit it in December for edits lol!) You might just be amazed how your work shifts and changes.

I'd love to hear your experiences. Are you a super sprinter or a measured meanderer?


  1. Tbh, those authors who are able to poop out a book every few months scare me a bit, since such efficiency is totally foreign for me. :D

    1. I'm just impressed by their time and focus. It takes me so long to labour over details. I think I need to try and speed up a bit lol! I'm not sure Twitter is the best thing for my efficiency either :)