Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sssh... I'm writing!

It's been a bit quiet here lately and I apologise for that. My intention was to a blog on a very regular if not daily basis, but the last few weeks I've been going through a bit of a watershed. Have been thinking long and hard about what I really want to do with my life. Which is essentially what I've wanted to do since I was twelve: write novels for a living.

I got talked out of by my mother, who wanted me to get an office job to bring in some money for myself and write in my spare time. I did write a novel when I was 17 and at my first job but it was so horrifically awful, I realised when I'd finished the first draft, left it for a bit and read through it, that it should be consigned to the garbage. I was writing about things I had no experience in, viz.: a love affair. I burnt it.

After that I lost patience with writing long works. I like the satisfaction of getting a draft done in one long sitting, and have since then written short stories. A large number of short stories (and not so short) over the years, hundreds if you include fan fiction and specific genre stuff. I've had some published in mainstream women's magazines, I've won prizes with three of them.

Lately though even writing short stories has become more difficult as work has become so busy. I don't have the mental space to shift into a creative mode. The only fiction I've written lately, as I joke to my husband, is timesheets.

Now I'm in my forties. The Great Australian Novel has still eluded me. Enough is enough. I've read plenty of trashy, poorly-edited and badly-written novels to know that I could produce one that is better. If some of the dross I've read has made it to the bookshops, there is hope for me yet.

So for the last few weeks I've been tossing around ideas for plots, for genre, for characters. I've developed some characters, had imaginary scenes in my head, but am still working on the finer details of the plot. I've researched HOW to write a novel, as it's a different world from that of the short story. I've declared I will spend an hour a day on the writing process, turning off the phones and email.

This last is the hardest part. Making myself unavailable to clients. There's always someone with something urgent and I tend to drop everything and do it. I really have to commit to myself now, as I'm feeling boxed in by people, by clients, by work, and it's taking a toll on my health.

I need to write this novel. I need to reclaim and rediscover myself. I have the support of my husband (morally... it might have to be financially for a bit if I really get serious on my writing). So plot.


  1. Yay Carinthia!
    One day I have to let the book in me out too. I've had characters and vague ideas for years now but haven't laced them together. I've even had a title bouncing around in the bean, but I am not sure if the two go together.
    My job does not inspire creativity, just an excess of mental gymnastics. It's hard get the 'music' back when you have to think in hard, logical thought all day.
    I used to have flow when I was younger so it must still be here somewhere.
    I'm cheering for you.

  2. Hi Sox,
    Thanks!! If you've got the dream, do find a way to do it! A lot of what I do isn't creative any more and by the end of each day I can't be bothered putting creative thoughts together, so I do sympathise with you. Even if you jot down scenes as they come to mind, and draw it all together at some point, your book deserves to be written :-)