Wednesday, 5 February 2014

I’ve gone through my notes…now to get writing…am I ready for a novel however?

Hello everyone, hope you enjoyed your weekend. This is a very scary blog post for me. I have spent the last few days finishing off reading through my notes and there is nothing left to check.  That really means one thing…

 You may remember one of my first January blogs talked about getting through all my files, I had several notebooks and folders stuffed full of notes, some of which stretched back to the 90’s. Well, it has taken me the month but I have finally gone through every one and have either wrote it up on my laptop, or torn it to shreds! Not everything was an idea for a story, there were plenty of other things I wanted to keep: ideas for characters, scenes and conversations. They are no use to me right now, but you never know, I will keep looking at them as I work through my stories and perhaps one will become useful, or evolve into another idea. I’m not keeping them for the sake of it; I have learnt to be very strict with myself, in the past, as I have previously mentioned I have kept far too much ‘stuff’ around me, whether it is written material or personal items. I have cleared my life out enormously over the last year and I am not going to start cluttering it up again, it can be a real block to getting going on new projects so I have set myself a much higher bar to aim for and if it didn’t genuinely excite me then I didn’t keep it.

Empty desk! Time to start typing…
I don’t know if any of the ideas I have will go anywhere but I certainly have got a lot to get through. There were in excess of forty separate ideas I have kept, they all seem worthwhile right now but we all know that can quickly change! I’m embarrassing myself now I know it, but when I bullet-pointed everything I had written up there were around 450 individual paragraphs. The main issue I faced was the huge amount of repetition I found. I was saying the same thing over and over in different guises. In one way, I found that reassuring as over the course of reading all of these notes it reinforced the subjects that it was obvious I was interested in. I mean, I knew what these were, or rather, I thought I knew what these were so it was a relief to see that I was coming up with the same topics time and time again (and spread over many years too). It told me that the reasons I wanted to write (or a better way of putting it is to say explore and investigate…) have a solid foundation.
            What that doesn’t do however is give me confidence. It may have reassured me that I have a focus, a direction; but that is immediately offset against the sheer size of the workload ahead. That is before we talk about the crippling anxiety…okay, I know what I want to do, okay, I know what that involves, okay, I know how much time and effort it is going to take … but now I’m crying before I write a sentence because I know it’s going to be rubbish, what am I thinking that I can do justice to the ideas I have, and please continue the self-doubt diatribe for me because I’m too tired to write it out.

Let’s just say I will keep you posted on progress…

The last thing I’m going to tell you about is something else I found that could be even scarier to me than the above. It’s not just the subject matter that it was surprising to see group together, but how much of it points towards a novel. I say this not because I have any grand experience on what is possible or not for a novel, but more because in my own naïve way I see the scale of what I want to say with some of these ideas being much larger than anything I have thought of before. I realise I am moronically placing a noose around my neck saying this, ready for you all to grab the rope to destroy me when the inevitable blog comes this time next year explaining how I have got nowhere…but the hell with it, I’m saying because at this moment I feel like they have potential and I’m going to wear my fingertips down to the bone trying to develop them.
            There are certainly short stories there, the majority as you would expect. The trouble I now have is what to prioritise? I like all the ideas (of course I would say that now, give it a few weeks…) but do I attempt a short story first because I have a better chance of finishing it and therefore ‘get some practice’ in, or do I dive straight into the novel idea because that is what is going to take the longest so best to get cracking? Also, why am I worrying so much about it when I have all bloody day to myself so I could spend a few hours every day split between the two!


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