Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Life gets in the way of writing

Do you find life gets in the way of your writing?

It's not enough that I have six kids, shooting off in all directions to school, part time jobs and Uni but they bring home kittens. This is the latest addition to the menagerie, called Niblets. Mum's a softie. Sigh. At least kittens are fun.

I'd much rather be writing than doing the shopping, cooking or cleaning. It never stops. At least if I mow the yard, it stays mowed for a couple of weeks!

When my fantasy series came out, people used to ask me where I found the time to write. It's simple really. I love writing. Getting back to my current story, is my reward for all the cooking cleaning and kitty litter!

So much of my time is spent driving children to the train station for school or to part time jobs, that I hate driving. But, on the way back, when I'm all alone, my mind goes over story ideas, knotty plot problems and characterization flaws. If I read a newspaper, catch a glimpse of something obscure and interesting on TV, watch a movie or see something in real life, it will trigger an idea.

I was shopping one day, when someone stole something, was chased by security, ran outside into the car park, panicked and climbed a tree. I know. Bizarre. But it got me thinking. I ended up writing a story for 10-12 year olds about two boys doing dares. The trouble maker leads the younger one on, until the older one makes a fool of himself by getting caught shop lifting and climbing a tree. The younger boy realises he doesn't want to hero worship the trouble maker any more.

That was a short contemporary children's story, which took very little time to write. A fantasy book can take a year to write and run to over 100,000 words. And, when life constantly interrupts your writing, it is hard to maintain concentration on the first draft. Rewrites are easier because the scaffolding is there and you are just refining details.

To help me through first draft I set myself goals. There's the large goal of completing the book. I plan to have my latest book, 'Adrift on the Shallow Sea', ready for my critique group, ROR, to give feedback on in March of next year. And then there are the short term goals, this week I'll finish a chapter, this day I'll write a 1000 words. That's only 4 pages. No matter how many interruptions I get, I can write 4 pages. Then I have my good days when I can't write fast enough to get the story down . Those days make it all worthwhile.

So kittens aside, don't let life get in the way of doing something you love!

Cheers, Rowena


Dave Freer said...

Ok... so WHERE did you get such co-operative grass? (ours -Kikuyu) needs mowing every 3 days in high summer if we have enough rain. And I have about 2 acres of grass! Never again)
But yes... real life intervenes. But if you really want to write... write something. Anything.

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

We've been suffering from drought for years. Our dams were down to less than 20% (they are now up to 40%). The garden maintenance companies have been going out of business.

But we've just have 3 days of rain, so the grass and weeds will go mad now. More work to do when I'd rather be writing!