Blimey I’m rubbish at remembering to do Writing Wednesday. I think it’s because I was trying to think of writerly type questions, but I can’t seem to do that and, you know, write at the same time. So instead I’m just going to write about what I’m writing about. Or if I’m writing. Or avoiding writing. I’m hoping it will be useful and it will also keep me honest…
So this week I’ve been doing something I find myself doing a LOT… and yet it always takes me a while to notice that I always do it. It’s flailing. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I do have a tendency to flail when overwhelmed. This week it was because I have a deadline for an article and I’m also trying to get 10,000 words of the next book together to send to my agent.
What happens – and this seems to be the same for fiction or non fiction – is I get an idea. I make some notes, do a bit of research, maybe even a shitty first draft… and then I decide I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. Everything I’ve written so far is rubbish and none of it can be saved. I flail.
I consider emailing my editor/agent/whoever and saying “I’m really sorry, I thought I could do it, but it turns out I can’t.” More flailing. Every now and then I’ll open the document, maybe halfheartedly add a note or head to google for a bit of research, but then it’s back to the flailing. This goes on for an indeterminate length of time. It could take me right up to the deadline or I might just get sick of myself. At which point I open the document, read it, type frenziedly in the manner of a film author in a deadline montage and then start to think, huh, it’s not that bad. I can probably do this after all. And then I do it.
Now because I’ve been doing this for a while, at some point in the above proceedings, I’ll think “You ALWAYS do this! And you know it’ll be okay in the end!” And then I’ll think, “No, this is different. This time I can’t actually do it.” Flail.