Tuesday 25 January 2011

Getting the Ego Out of the way

I had a pretty good time with Peace Child yesterday. It went like a dream and in just over two hours I wrote just over 2,000 words. I think for once they were quite good. Often when I feel that I’m on a roll, I have to go back and do some drastic editing later. This time, I think, the writing was good, I could really see the whole plot and my main character was settling down. Also, the end seems to be in sight.
So, what was different this time?
I think my ego had got out of the way. I’d put the dream aside. It doesn’t matter whether I have a bestseller or carry on plodding for the rest of my life; I have to write. This is more a disease than a blessing. One day it might seem like a blessing. That day will never come if I don’t actually write. So what if I’m tired? I’ve just got to concentrate and do it.
So, I just concentrated and did it. The book’s the thing and not what it might do to my life style. I got some of the clearest pictures I’ve had for a while of the world I’ve created and some plot points also firmed up for me. I really did begin to care deeply about my protagonist. Coincidentally, I had an email from my editor about this character who appears also in a volume that’s about to come out. I have created the impression I wanted to. The efforts do pay off, then.
I recognise this from my days as a secondary school teacher. I’d swear I actually taught better on the occasions when I was a little tired or slightly ill, or even when my confidence as a teacher was shaken slightly. I tended then to be a little more in tune with what was actually going on and therefore became more aware of the needs of the students in front of me.
So what happened yesterday? Nothing much. I was a little tired, a little cold – although it’s warmer in Salford now it’s damper and that always feels cold – and a little under the January grey-sky weather. I wasn’t a glorious writer about to beat words into submission. I didn’t matter. The writing did. That’s all there was to do.

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