Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Édouard Vuillard, Woman Writing, c.1900 

I have had 16 months away from serious writing because of health reasons and only managed short stints on my blog, Facebook and emails. When I felt able to return to my writing full time, I wondered if I would ever get that “feeling” back – that feeling of being hooked on my own story.

About a month ago, I decided I had no choice. It was either quit (out of the question) or sit my backside down and write. Something. Anything. Just for one hour a day.

I already had six chapters written before my operation – three chapters for one story line and three for another, searching for that connection …. that told me I was hooked on one more than the other. As I sat down I decided to simply grab one of those stories and work on it.

First I read through it. Not bad. Weak in places. I started at the end of chapter three and tried to work on the old outline I’d set up. That didn't work. For one thing, I’d put an important scene in way way too early.

So I moved the scene to another file and sat down and wrote part of a new outline. Not working yet. Not feeling it.

Maybe more research? I decided to reread all of my historical research notes. This set up a lot of questions – including had I done all the research I needed to? I picked up the books I had paid small fortunes for - in order to researchthe setting and time - and fell a little deeper into the idea.

I went online. I immersed myself in as much “new” research as I could. The next day, I got up and went straight to my computer. I had an idea taken from that new research.

I wrote my prescribed hour.

And then three more.

One night, in the bath, while reading someone else’s book which I had previously been enjoying, the words kept blurring as I went inside my head to wonder about what my own character would do about the new event that had rocked her family. Another idea came to me. Yes. That's what she would do!  

I always kept small notepads beside my bath with pencils. But I’d got rid of them as I hadn't used them in ages. Grrr. I was so angry with myself. I had to get this idea down!

I had a short bath that night. I made copious notes, then wrote a scene in pencil sitting in bed with a cup of tea.

The next day, when I got up, I was washing my hair, making breakfast and all the time planning the next scene. I was feeling my characters come alive, interacting with me and each other. I was seeing real people not just characters to move around like puppets.

I had primed the pump - and it was starting to run clear.

At the same time, in the back of my mind, was the floating thought that perhaps no one would ever see this story. After all, it would be six months to a year before I tried to get it published. (I am a slow writer who rewrites and rewrites as I go.)

That voice inside said, who cares? Write like you did with your first book, “Who is Frances Rain?”. Write for yourself. Write for the pleasure you are feeling right now. You didn't think anyone would want that, either. And they did. Right now, you are doing this for you. Because you, dear writer, are finally hooked on your own writing!