Time Management

The other night, the Frog pointed out that I haven’t written for a while. It must have been a long time, because he’s more likely to complain that he’s a writing widow if I write twice a week, but he is right, it’s been a while.

Part of the reason is the issue of time management. One of my most creative moments of the day was my commute to work. But now I’ve got the Bubba sitting next to me and we usually read a book together. Why we’re reading on the bus is a whole other post, but basically that moment is gone. Also it’s September and I have to get my head round the new schedule of kid at new school, preparing lunches, I am now constantly commuting with someone else (a soon-to-be four year old) and getting to grips with teaching a new grade.

Another reason is that I had a hellish summer (get ready to feel sorry for me) where the Bubba would no longer nap regularly, she suddenly developed an independence that meant she could do everything by herself – she couldn’t, so it usually ended in tears – and I subtitled the whole holiday the summer of whinge. Anyway, enough of the woe is me, basically what it meant was that whenever I had a chance, I scribbled down a scene or two. Because you know what they say: a rubbish draft is better than no draft. The thing is I got myself into a right old tizz and I got a bit lost about who the characters were and what they were about.

I’ve spent some time Snowflaking my main characters (see Randy what’shisname Snowflake writing method) and that’s been helpful although it has turned on my inner editor big style.

Cover of "Last Night in Twisted River: A ...

However, what was useful during the summer of whinge was that I read quite a lot, or more to the point I finally read LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER by John Irving. I’m a big fan of Irving and first read him during the summer of unemployment almost twenty years ago when I forgot to apply for a job after university. The summer of unemployment also turned into the autumn, winter and almost spring, and I read lots of Irving, Douglas Adams, plenty of Pratchett, any comics I could get my hands on and … I’m digressing.

John Irving (b. 1942), American writer

In LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER one of the characters is a writer. Daniel Baciagalupo explains his writing process in detail and apparently it’s pretty close (if identical) to Irving’s. Basically he starts at the end and plans the whole story until he gets to the beginning. There could be a bit of a tingly moment when he realises he’s got his first line (or I might be making that bit up) and then he sits down and writes. Whereas me, I’m not sure that I started at the right beginning and I’m not entirely sure how to end the story. Well, I am, but there’s a but.

Another of the characters, Ketchum, gives Danny some advice:

“You got to let yourself go, Danny,” Ketchum was saying. “Be more daring.”

You see, if I let myself go completely, it’s dark and sad. Really dark. I kind of wanted a bit of a happy ending, but… If I let myself go, if I go with the true ending that works, it’s not the ending I want. Does that make sense?

So basically it’s September, coupled with a WIP that is in a bit of a tizz means that I’m not writing much (read at all) and now even the Frog who supposedly lives with a writer, thinks I’m not writing enough. Do you think this post counts?


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