Saturday, 2 March 2013

I don't have time to write...apparently yes you do!

Meg Rosoff's Eck 
It has been an interesting week. On Tuesday the truly wonderful, Meg Rosoff came down to the University to talk to our MA students. As always she gave a fascinating talk, open to all and to a packed room, which she finished by reading from There is No Dog. This was followed by a workshop just for the MA students that had us all digging into the depths of our feelings looking for our voice. It certainly gave me a lot to think about. It was a very useful session.

This week I have also been bemoaning my lack of time to write my new book. Blaming my work, blaming the fact I know I have some rewrites to do to Trafficking and therefore can't focus on new stuff. Blaming everything I could think of rather than facing the truth. Of course you can find time to write if you want/need to but I wasn't. Then I was sitting vacantly staring at my iPad yesterday in the Learning Cafe after a student had failed to turn up to a dissertation meeting (*sigh*). Next to me was another colleague also sitting and working more productively on his iPad. However, little did he know that I was in the middle of an epiphany (as opposed to wasting time on Facebook as I was accused). It suddenly came to me why I was struggling to write this book. It wasn't working. It wasn't right. I am a member of a great critique group who had given some very useful and positive feedback on the chapters I had written so far. But the writing had stalled and I still couldn't move forward with it. I kept walking around it, dancing with it every now and then rather than engaging with the narrative. Why? Well that was my epiphany - I needed to kill off another character. I had started off with four siblings, cut this down to three and now I knew I needed to cut it down to two. Bye, bye Rose, exit left stage from Persephone's Pegasus please.

I then had another epiphany - it was a busy day for them - that even when you don't think you are having time to write you are in fact sub-consciously thinking about your work in progress. It is there in the back of your mind being mulled over quietly. My panic that I wasn't writing, I felt, was unfounded. I was in fact writing but not necessarily on the page. I am hoping I can move forward now and take this story where I want to because I do believe it is quite a good one.

My epiphanies may well have been instigated by an  interview with Nick Cave, which was posted earlier this week by JW (thank you). At the end of the interview he talks about the brief light bulb moment when you get an idea. I thought, rather insightfully, he talked about the fact it is not just having the ideas, it is what you do with them. He pointed out that, inevitably, it takes a lot of hard work to make the light bulb moment into something really good. See being creative is not easy!

This is one of my favourite songs from a new album I have just got by Heidi Talbot. Happy Weekend everyone!


  1. This is so true Ness - I feel teh same way - it's amazing what you can pack in when you're ready to go as well! x

  2. Great post, Ness. And I like that you say you are still writing when mulling over ideas. That's why we always need a notepad ... x

  3. Thank you ladies, am so pleased you liked the post.xx