I am writing this in response to an invitation from Leigh Chambers to take part in a series of blog posts on how writers write. I was tagged along with Alex Ruczaj and Melissa Fu. Alex has written about writing as a Patchwork Process, Leigh, on how to make good writing, better, on writing being not only craft but graft.
And me? I write at home. I write whenever I can. I keep neither a notebook, nor regular hours. Those ‘twenty things you absolutely must have in the opening paragraph of your novel else you will never ever be published’ posts kill me. They do.
[checks first para again] [frets]
Can I call myself a writer? I have written a novel (with support of a grant from Arts Council England), which is with an agent. Two years’ work and no guarantee anyone wants it. I try not to think about it, or admit to thinking about it. But I think about it a lot. It keeps me awake at night.
I write, though I know the odds are against me.
I write in great gallumphing bursts, trying to get the words out of my head before they skedaddle. Often, I don’t have the words I need, not all of them. That does not stop me haring off, mad-hatterish, thinking I’m the fox.
Sometimes, there are no words, only rhythm, a sense of it. A number of my short stories started that way – with a sort of soft shoe shuffle. Those make the best stories of all – stories that do not sit up straight, or stand tidy-like, at the door.
I write selfishly, gluttonously, shamelessly.* [three adverbs? in a row?]**
I may not have all the words I need, or get much sleep. That’s okay, I think.
* there’s a reason for that; another time.
** Don’t tell me the ADVERB IS NOT MY FRIEND.