Monday, February 15, 2010

There's something wrong with me

This weekend I realized that I suffer from a terrible disorder. It’s very serious, and I wasn’t sure whether to reveal it here or not. But here goes...

I suffer from Only-feel-like-writing-when-I’ve-GOT-to-leave-the-house-in-less-than-an-hour-itis. There. I feel better now that I’ve shared. On Saturday, the whole day stretched ahead of me like an incredibly long stretchy thing. I could have written
War and Peace in that time. (Well, not quite, but you get my point, yes? Good.) But did I do any writing at all? Well, yes actually, I did. But only very late that night when I was completely exhausted from all the sitting and lounging and mooching.

And then yesterday morning, I was struck by The Urge. I started writing super-early. I didn’t even let a couple of phone calls distract me. (If you ever call me when I’m writing, pretty much all you’ll get out of me is a ‘Whaaa...? I can’t think right now. Sorry.’) And the clock was tick-tick-ticking and I had to leave the house in fifteen minutes, but I had so much stuff in my head that I hadn’t managed to get down yet. I was trying to write this tricky scene where I had to replicate the way people talk on TV (and no, I’m not going to tell you which people) and I couldn’t quite get it right. And still the clock ticked on. Finally, with one minute to spare I jotted down some random words at the end of the WIP – words that would hopefully remind me of what I was intending to do with that scene. Alas, looking back at them today I have no idea what the heck I was on about. Hey ho.

Does anyone else suffer from this? Perhaps we could form some kind of support group?

Awesome YA book you really should read:
The Giver, by Lois Lowry (which contains one of the most upsetting scenes I’ve read in a long time)


  1. I've become about a thousand times more efficient with my time since having babies, ie. since I was suddenly left with barely enough time to go to the loo on my own, let alone write a I think this is all part of the same syndrome...not that I'm suggesting that getting knocked up is the way to a publishing deal. Hmm, where was I going with this? Ah yes, also wanted to say that every time I have a writing session and feel happy with what I've produced, I have to psyche myself up to ever open the file again, as if I fear that every time I write something good is the last time I'll ever write something good. I think we are quite a stressed-out bunch, even when we're mooching.

  2. Emily- A self-help book for writers perhaps? 'Get a Bun in the Oven and a Book in the Shops?' You should definitely write this.

    We are a stressed-out bunch, aren't we? I don't know why/how people put up with us. Must be our winning personalities...

  3. I suffer from this too, and definitely suffer from the 'opening the file' affliction Emily describes so accurately above.


  4. I can only work in short bursts. Two hours maximum. I definitely do best when there's a time limit imposed by outside forces. Ideally I'd write all my books under exam conditions.

  5. Luisa- I don't suffer from Opening-the-file-itis... YET. It's surely only a matter of time though!

    Keren- exam conditions is a great idea! But I'd have to be able to listen to music. And I'd definitely need a creepy teacher peering over my shoulder and tutting at what I've written.

  6. Well on positive note, you've idenitified the conditions you work best in so I think that deserves a little celebration.

  7. Love The Giver. Although I like Gossamer a bit better. Anyway. If I promise myself I'm going to write, it'll never happen. So I just spontaneously open up Word (I leave my computer on and charging all day) and then hit the magical Open button...and then I like to pretend an alpha is baking me cookies.

  8. Becky- That's looking on the bright side - I like it!

    Liam- I'll have to check out Gossamer. And your spontaneous writing sounds like the way to go. I suppose that way you don't feel so disappointed in yourself when you DON'T write.