Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!! & Writing Biorhythms

Happy New Year to One and All!!!

I hope 2010 finds you all happy and well (and not too hungover).

Well, I thought this would be a pretty apt topic, especially for me at the moment. As much as I delude myself, well - I need to take a break from writing every now and then.

I know this flies in the face of the established wisdom, which says you should write every day, but I guess like everything else its pretty individual. I liken it to my guitar playing. There is an established school of wisdom there too, which also maintains that you should practice every day. But I find - although I can be incredibly dim forming some types of memory - I have a fantastic physical pattern memory. I can put the guitar down for months, then pick it up and the technique and fluidity will still be there like I played only two days ago.
I like to let the discipline go for a while and let my mind go 'fallow'. I try to fuel my imagination and my literary hunger. In some vague way I am aware of building up a store of some type of vital emotional energy. I know I'll be back into it when the time comes.
How about you? Do you write every day come what may? What's your writing biorhthym?

PS: The photo is me on a walking trail in Lamington National Park, one of our Heritage Listed local wonders. My son Aedan is in the left background.


Rowena Cory Daniells said...


I've been feeling guilty because I wasn't writing every day. In fact, since I started my new job in September, I've planned and researched a new series and only written 150 pages of book one.

But everything has been mulling over in the back of my mind. And this morning I woke up, hungry to get the ideas down. So I'm feeling better.

I needed the fallow time, as you put it.

Here's hoping 2010 is a great year for all of us, on both personal and professional fronts!

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Rowena. I think once we've been bitten by the bug (in utero?) we are always in the story on some level. I have been taking a break, but I have a SF short bubbling away back there. The guilt is still there too . . .

All the best for 2010!

Amanda Green said...

Happy New Year, Chris. Great post and one that resonates with me right now. I want to write every day. I try. Really I do. But there are so many distractions during the holidays. My problem right now is that I'm at that mid-point on two projects where each word seems to need to be excavated out with a front end loader. So I've stepped back and am letting the plots simmer on a mental burner or two. In the meantime, I'm reading -- gotta love my Kindle -- doing research on a new project and editing yet another. Yeah, I know, all that is writing-related. But it's not writing and I feel guilty. Still, I've found that sometimes I have to step back, find some nice, hard physical labor to do -- anyone have a fence that needs to be built or shelving to be done? -- before the creative juices start flowing again. Once they do, I'll be able to push out both projects in a month or so. Now, if only I could find an easier way to write short stories, I'd be happy.

Kate said...

Hi Chris,

It's definitely a bug, and possibly not even a benign one (ask anyone who got afflicted with my very early stuff!).

After spending who knows how long sneaking writing in to any available moment, I now find I write best when I'm not "supposed" to be writing. Yet another case of Kate-weird, I guess: if what I'm doing at work includes a lot of "kick it off, do something else until it finishes" tasks, I get a lot of writing done. If not, a whole lot less. Unless things are so crazy nothing happens, or I've hit the tip point of a novel or short where I simply can't leave it alone and will generate prodigious wordage in a very short time period.

If actual words on page aren't happening, there's usually background stuff going on. Research, mentally rehearsing the story, that kind of thing. Unless I'm sucked into a computer game, in which case it really is dead time (yesterday, forex, when I spent the whole bloody DAY playing Zelda: Twilight Princess).

Okay, I don't have a pattern and I'm weird ;-)

C Kelsey said...

Happy New Year Chris.

I'd love to be able to write every day, but things always contrive to get in the way. Today is actually my first day of writing even though I've supposedly had time for the last two weeks given the mandatory holiday-time shutdown my company has. Instead I read three books. Now I've contrived to kick everyone out of the house. The TV is off, there is no music playing, and the opening for a novel I've been wanting to try is finally underway. The last time I had an atmosphere like this to write in I managed 50,000 words in three days. Here's hoping.

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Amanda. I know what you mean. I call that 'blood out of a stone' territory. The drive to write is still there, but things don't seem to flow. Its usually a combination of lack of sleep and exhaustion. Next time I'll try building some fences:)

All the best for 2010.

Chris McMahon said...

Hi, Kate. I think you are chanelling your 'inner rebel'! For some reason I did some of my best writing last year sneaking away from work in the afternoons and writing in the cafe on the corner. Something about the atmosphere gives me a 'clean slate' to work on.

Its sounds like you are powering, Kate. I salute you Zelda1 Warrior Princess!

All the best for 2010 - I can tell from your post you are as happy to see 2009 go as I am:)

Chris McMahon said...

Good luck, Chris. I often find the best thing to do is lure myself in with a reduced targets.

Even though you may not consciously have set one, on some level you are expecting yourself to write 10,000 words.

Instead set a target of say - maybe only one hour, or 500 words, then reward yourself with another chapter of one of those books you have been reading. Its often a case of breaking the ice - then you will found yourself stuck right back into it.

All the best for 2010!

Kate said...

Hi, Chris,

Unfortunately, that leaves me right where I am now - doing buggerall during the day (I'm on vacation until the 4th) and not even thinking about writing until it's around time I should be thinking about going to bed.

Chris McMahon said...

Hey, Kate. You are a Rebel Without a Cause. Maybe you could try splitting yourself into two personalities, one that emphatically forbids you to write, then the other part - the Writer/Rebel can happily write when the other part says you are not supposed to:)

Anonymous said...

The problem with mind games is they never seem to work the way you expect them too. I have an inner Passive-aggressive. Or maybe that's the outer one? Whichever, it just sticks in its heels and refuses to play if I try to trick it.

Now, a nice straightforward "I need to vacuum" usually guarantees that I won't be able to force myself away from the computer all day. "I really ought to grab a shovel and do something about the manure in the back" never seems to work. Guess I'm still a Tomboy at heart.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Happy new Year Chris. I'm currently struggling with a novel that wants to be written, but which is not contracted and therefore must BEND to the realities of everyday life.

It will get done. But between feeling guilty when I write it, for not doing proposals and such, and feeling guilty when I don't write it, I'm going a little loopy.

(Everyone pipe down. I'm aware I've ALWAYS been a little loopy. Trying to not admit it, okay?)