I’ve been looking through some past writing projects over the weekend. It’s great to re-read shelved material with fresh eyes several months or even years down the line.
A couple of projects stood out. They weren’t finished but were certainly in a great place to be picked up and fleshed out.
Writing is an entirely different discipline to illustrating. At least, it is for me. When I’m writing there’s no music and no distractions. Library conditions all the way.
With illustration I can happily have the music at volume 10, the TV on in the background and the kids running around the house.
So the best time in the day for me to write is first thing in the morning, which is usually 6:30am. Minutes after waking up I have a coffee prepared and the Mac fired up. I tend not to be a note taker. I’d much rather try and keep an idea alive in my mind. If it sticks then I’ll write it. If it doesn’t stick I generally assume it wasn’t such a great idea.
This morning I started writing. I took the first dozen or so pages of a previous project and started from there. Pretty much continuing the story with no regard for what was already written. An extremely valuable exercise.
After an hour I stopped writing. I didn’t read through my work and won’t until tomorrow. Then I picked up another unfinished project and did the same. I wrote for an hour (or thereabouts) and stopped. The stories are quite different but because my mind was in author’s mode, it was really quite straight forward.
I guess the thing I struggle with the most, even with silence and a clear head, is finding my voice. There’s little worse than having some great ideas and not being able to articulate them in a readable or professional style.
It’s not writer’s block. That’s just a severe drought of ideas. I have plenty of ideas but don’t, perhaps, have my brain switched on to be able to write them ‘cleanly’.
Once upon a time this would have meant ‘down tools’ and come back when I’m able to write in the correct way.
But now I just write it. As I’m writing I may be aware that what I’m writing is badly presented, but the content, the actual story is exactly what I want to say.
This is a huge thing and having that luxury of being able to revisit work a little further down the line means that I can then adapt the writing to better fit my ‘voice’ or ‘style’.
There’s a lot to be said for ‘just writing’ and worrying about the style of the writing at a later date.