So the whole getting up at 6am to write thing is… getting there. I’m only aiming for weekdays, and out of those I managed to get to my desk by 6.30am four out of five days in the past week.
I’m actually (whisper it) quite enjoying it once I prise myself away from under the duvet, but I still have some work to do on managing to get to bed at a reasonable hour so my brain’s in tip top writing nick: no mean feat with meetings till 9pm at least a couple of times a week and thirty-odd years of conditioning against early nights to contend with!
I certainly think it is the way to go, for lots of reasons.
But rather than dwell on those right now I’m just going to take a few moments to savour the deliciousness of embarking on the voyage of discovery that is the writing of a brand new novel.
It’s not all plain sailing of course. The fear of the blank page can be overwhelming at times, as can the doubt that the words you’re forcing down to get rid of it are ever going to be the start of anything worth reading. But if you can quieten those niggling demons then the rewards are well worth the effort.
The leap from a few bullet pointed notes to a thousand words of prose is satisfying in itself, but it’s how it happens that delights me most. When you give yourself the time and space to listen to your characters, to let them take you by the hand and lead you through their story. I’d sort of forgotten how much fun it is.
There was a moment one morning this week when I was struggling a little to transport myself from a dark February morning with wind and rain hammering at the windows to the height of a hazy summer, and struggling even more to work out what my protagonist was up to as she meandered aimlessly into town. But then I tried to see her journey through her eyes and realised where she was headed. And with that realisation I suddenly made a lot more sense of her summer and in fact several important aspects of the person she becomes in her adult life.
This whole novel writing adventure is, when it works, just a succession of those delicious little moments of clarity. And when it doesn’t? Well, then it’s just a matter of getting the words down, one after another, until it all starts to make sense again.
And, of course, making sure I’m awake to write them…