Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Block? Is this what Writer's Block is? Where is my muse?

I have come to the shocking realisation that tomorrow is the last day in February and I haven't really settled into a writing routine yet.  I don't feel inspired so I make excuses and do other things to keep myself busy - it's extraordinarily easy to keep busy when there is something one feels one should be doing.   My current book is not even a quarter through yet I am doing very little writing - I know what the next part of the story line is but find I am not inspired to write it.  Sometimes I sit down, knowing I only have a short time and write a couple of pages but this isn't how I normally write.  With my first three books I sat down at my computer at every opportunity and felt compelled to get the story down, as though it would slip through my fingers like water if I didn't. 

But it's not really a block - it's more of an apathy.  When I was writing Rock-a-Bye Baby, which was my fifth novel, it actually started as my third then I wasn't sure how to proceed so put it on one side then I woke up one morning with But a Dream in my head and hastened to write it down, which I did within a month.  It was only much later that I went back to Rock-a-Bye and just wrote it.  I know that when I have the characters and the basic storyline the rest just comes as I write it.    It may sound ridiculous and pretentious but the characters tell their story, often surprising me in the process.  The ending of Fisherman's Dream wasn't at all what I had thought - but that's what came out and I was happier with it than with my first idea.

So it must just be laziness.  The trouble is I need a deadline and it needs to be a tight deadline otherwise I prevaricate.  I have set myself a deadline of finishing the first draft by the end of March - so have frittered away January and February - come March I will need to write around 1500 - 2000 words a day.  It's not such a lot when one gets down to it.    It all boils down to discipline, I suppose.  It's never been my strong point!  I think back to my schooldays - Monday morning in the train wasn't really the best time to be doing my weekend homework.    Too easily distracted that's me - now I really must take the dogs for a walk before going to my bridge club, perhaps tomorrow I'll get down to some steady writing, after doing the washing, weeding the garden, going to my aqua aerobics class and of course the dogs always need walking!  

Till next time :)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Age, yes I said the word, related issues

I have been a bit quiet of late – my time seems to have been otherwise occupied.  Recently I have been more of a Baby Boomer who writes fiction, rather than someone who writes Baby Boomer fiction.   I have been getting to grips with issues that concern our age group like hearing loss and the different types of hearing aid available – something I knew nothing whatsoever about.  Not for me but for my husband.  His hearing has been deteriorating over the years, particularly on his right side where he suffered a rugby injury in his youth.  Over the last few years I have frequently suggested he get his hearing tested, as have our two adult daughters but he has prevaricated.   Admitting to hearing loss is presumably acknowledging that one is getting older, which none of us seem prepared to do these days.  (When my mother was in her 50s she wore suitable clothing for her age, skirts and little jackets which she called a costume – the thought of my late mother in the nowadays ubiquitous jeans is mind boggling).   We all jog, exercise, go to the gym, do whatever it takes in an effort to deny the inevitable.   But I digress.   The way I got Colin, my husband, to get his hearing tested was, I admit, devious.  A hearing aid company came to my bridge club and did a presentation.  They invited members to fill in forms with a chance of winning a full hearing assessment.  I filled in the form in Colin’s name!  So they called him and made an appointment.  Now he is trying out hearing aids – a free trial.  He finds them a bit obtrusive but I find they make a huge difference in my life (I hadn’t realised I was having to raise my voice so he could hear me, also we can have the television on so much more quietly)  so I can only imagine what a difference they make to him - he is amazed at the birdsong from our little garden as well as able to have a normal telephone conversation.  He still isn’t sure if he wants one or two hearing aids so is trying combinations.  I thought naively that perhaps just one in the weaker ear would suffice but that didn’t work nearly as well as just one in the better ear.   Now the big issue is not hearing so much as listening!  He’s had an excuse over the last few years – he has always said he didn’t hear when I knew for certain he wasn’t listening – well there are no more excuses now! 

Another age related issue is of course eye sight.  I have tried eye exercises, though not as faithfully as I should, but still find I need glasses for reading.   So partly why I love my kindle, aside from its portability and the ease of downloads, is that I have increased the font size and don’t need my glasses for reading anymore which I find great.  I don’t know why they don’t use this as a selling point.  My sister recently bought a kindle for an elderly friend who was having trouble reading due to macular degeneration for this very reason.  

I was reading recently that John Grisham hates research – I have to agree with him I’m afraid.  I also have the fear that what I have read, even from several sources might not be 100% accurate so I far prefer writing about  things I have experienced myself, either first hand or from close observation.  So the issue of what they call ‘age related hearing loss’ might well crop up in one of my future books.

Till next time J