Thursday, March 08, 2007

So you want to be a writer?

I'd never really had a good idea for a novel before, but I know a good thing when I think it. I was on a plane to London for work (which turned out to be a nightmare meeting, but that's another story) and I had propped my head against the plastic window. Suddenly the idea appeared in my mind, like it had been there the whole time. I kept my excitement to myself. My boss sitting beside me was already enraged by Ryanair's fluorescent yellow upholstry.

The idea was a frame that tied ten short stories together in a novel. I'd written stuff before but mainly non fiction. I'd always had vague ideas for fiction but I always ran out of steam at the end. My stories lacked structure. So to get an idea that would also structure the novel - eureka.

As soon as I got home I told my long suffering boyfriend Ours about my idea and he liked it. Then I sprung a second idea on him - how about I give up work for six months to write the thing? I'm a terrible procrastinator (the only time I ever clean our apartment is when I'm avoiding work or study) but as a lapsed Catholic I also have a healthy dose of guilt. Giving up work would be the ultimate guilt trip that would force me to write. He wasn't overwhelmed at first but I won him over with my sledgehammer nagging and roundabout logic.

Two months into the 'experiment' I'm banging out around 1500 words a day. It's both easier and harder than I thought it would be. I don't have writer's block so much as a general 'I couldn't be arsed' mood most days. I'd prefer to use my laptop to trawl the Internet for mindless 'news'. But when I eventually start writing I haven't got stuck...yet.