This is the post I didn’t want to write (which is why I delayed it for a week). This is the post where I tell you that for the last few weeks the writing didn’t come first. Instead 250,000 words belonging to someone else came first as I edited chaotic documents that had been translated from two languages before they came to me. A website, eDMs, meetings, and emails also came first. And when I wasn’t working for my business during the day, at night, and on weekends (over at my other persona, Rowena Writes Copy), I was doing my best to meet longstanding and long overdue social commitments which were of course completely pleasurable, but again meant that the writing didn’t come first.
When I was writing for business I felt guilty about not writing my novel, and when I tried to find time to work on my manuscript, I felt guilty about not doing the writing that pays my bills. Anxiety started to build as I worried that this would be the second time that I had been given a rare opportunity to do something that I really cared about and that it was at risk of slipping away from me because of other people’s deadlines.
Thankfully I have four fundamental elements to keep me focused...
This is the post I didn’t want to write. It is slapdash, jotted down between deadlines, and tells the woe is me story of having a moderately successful business. More meaningfully, it is the post I didn’t want to write because it references the experience of my friend and many others like her, whose stories I am so keen to share with the world.
I can’t think of a more important reason to remember why the writing should always come first.
Postscript: For some readers this post may not make a lot of sense right now. Don’t worry. It will.
It has been two weeks since I left the magic of Varuna. If you are reading this blog you are either one of my long suffering friends, or one of those acquaintances who delight in freudenschade, keen to see if my enthusiasm of a fortnight ago has waned.
Fortunately I am a stubborn bugger, and I enjoy proving nay-sayers wrong.
It has been a fabulous fortnight! Okay, the first week was a little so-so. Returning to reality, and the great lump of work that accompanied it, did not make for the week of creative productivity I would have liked. But most importantly, the magic remained.
I have fallen back into the world of my characters. I’m back in the frame of mind where the universe seems to be whispering to me about my novel. The names of my characters have popped up in unexpected places, snippets of conversations seem to be about themes I’m examining, I’m looking at my environment differently and it all seems to be pointing to my novel. It is that same feeling you get when you are in the throes of early love and you are high on dopamine and oxytocin. I’m in love with my manuscript again.
When I last felt this motivated about my creative writing I remember a friend commented on how boring my day to day conversation was becoming, because it constantly centred on what I had been writing. I used to start a conversation about something interesting that had happened the night before, then I would stop, realising that what I was about to describe didn’t actually happen to me or to someone I knew, but was really something that had taken place in the fictionalised world that I had created, and briefly those two worlds had collided in my head and I had forgotten which one I occupied. I’m aware this sounds completely crazy, but I think it is also a sign that the magic is working.
While I wasn’t committing much time to physically writing my novel in that first week, I was inhabiting that world. A couple of other magical things happened a few days after my return to reality. I made a commitment to a publisher that I will have my draft manuscript ready for reading in January. A deadline! Hoorah! A guaranteed, and important, reader! Double hoorah! I also booked an international flight that will send me back to the place that inspired my manuscript.
As for the second week, although it was less monumental, it was significantly more productive. For now, at least for the moment, I am on track for my January deadline.