Monday, October 16, 2006

Not moaning, but drowning

Word Count:112,933
Chapters Deleted: 2
New Chapters to Write: 2
Open University End of Course Assessments Marked: 6

I'm now slightly paranoid that you're all reading this thinking, dearie me, what a misery guts. She's got the best job in the world, a room of her own to write in, and she's still complaining.

I'm not, honest. I've done a range of jobs in my life and I am incredibly happy to be doing this one, though having only been a full-time writer for three months now, it's a learning curve. Right now, it reminds me of my first ever holiday job, in a factory in Congleton, where they washed imported Iranian sultanas for cereal companies. Oh, it did other fruit too: diced apple, currants (which had to be coated in mineral oil by hand, yeuch).

Anyway, in my second summer stint, I graduated from throwing handfuls of sultanas onto a metal bench (to check for tooth-breaking stones), up to working on the production line, i.e. sitting next to the conveyor belt while billions of sultanas travelled past, en route to Sultana Bran. We had to check for foreign objects and generally keep an eye on things.

Usually it was fine (apart from the fact you went home every day with indelible sultana stains on your hands), but about once a day, the girl who was loading the machine with 10kg boxes of fruit would go into overdrive, and great avalanches of brown sticky vine fruit would come rippling towards us, faster than we could possibly cope with. We put boxes at the end of the conveyor to catch and re-pack the fruit, but we weren't fast enough and eventually we'd have to cry 'STOP!' and the machine would go off and the girl at the end would give us a triumphant smile. She was permanent, and therefore entirely within her rights to give the temps a hard time.

And that's what it feels like right now. Except I can't turn the machine off because all the deadlines are there for good reasons. Especially the book one - apart from anything else, writers need a deadline otherwise they will spend a lifetime tweaking ONE novel, hundreds of drafts-worth of changes. And it probably wouldn't get much better than the fourth or fifth draft.

So there we are. Not moaning. Just drowning in words.

Lovely Link of the Day:
Apologies if you've seen this already (get with the program, Kate!) but this unsolicited advice to authors is great, especially the bit that reads: do not 'make excuses about missing a deadline via a 1000 word blog post about the horrors of writer's block.'

Ah....Time to go, I think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link!

And totally agree about the need for deadlines. They are an essential kick in the butt to make you buckle down and write. Although in my case it wouldn't be tweaking and rewriting a book all over again that I'd be spending time on... just watching the telly or playing around online! :)

2:45 pm  
Blogger Lorainne said...

You DO have the best job in the world (however everyone is allowed to moan I think). What advice would you give to someone with not much spare time who is looking to begin writing a novel, has a tonne of ideas but doesn't know how to start?!? ie me.

4:44 pm  

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