Writing Update

4 Mar

At the moment, my writing seems to have ground to something of a halt. I’m not “blocked”. I don’t actually believe in such a thing. “Mentally exhausted” would come much closer to it. It’s put something of a brake on my blogging too. I realise that I’ve been missing some of my blogging friends, even though I’ve never even met them physically. The urge to gain those insights into what’s happening in their lives and writing is manifesting itself again.

The twin-pronged approach to my works-in-progress has seen me through up till now. Four months devoted to one, eighteen months to the other, another month on WiP No. 1 and back to WiP No. 2… However, I seem to have arrived at difficult points in both of them, at the same time. WiP No. 1 is theoretically close to completion. I have 100,000 words and much of the tale has been told. So ahead of me lies the challenge of pulling together the words on the page into some kind of coherent whole. I’m also going through one of those phases that all writers will recognise where I’m questioning the validity of what I’m doing. From this perspective, it’s making my task with WiP No. 1 look Herculean and myself in need of some Christ-like powers of transformation. WiP No. 2 has 34,000 words but now I’m wondering whether the idea is too slight to make a novel…

Stained glass and iconography encountered on a late winter's walk

Stained glass and iconography encountered on a late winter’s walk

My mind isn’t even right for reading at the moment. I’ve stalled for the last three months over Martin Amis’s London Fields. I usually read between 20 and 25 books a year but Mr Amis’s tome and my psychological fatigue are getting in the way of this target. I took it on my recent trip to the writing den and didn’t read a single page. The trip was more about recuperation in the company of a photographer friend of mine, who was also in need of a break. And the writing den provides the perfect location. Good food and drink, walking and conversation were the order of the day.

The best bar in the town close to the writing den

The best bar in the town close to the writing den

On an optimistic note, I start a new job in September. Even though I’ll be yet more broke than I already am – if that’s possible – it should give me more time and energy for writing and to embark on the logjam of projects that I have stored up over the years. For now, though, I’m off to check out some of my friends’ latest musings…

All text and images © PSR 2015

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4 Responses to “Writing Update”

  1. Mari Biella March 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I’ve missed your musings too, Paul! I’m familiar with that feeling of grinding to a mental halt. I try to look at it in an optimistic light: those periods where nothing is seemingly happening are actually chances to let your subconscious get to work on all those ideas and images, and possibly (hopefully) transform them and make them better. I think it’s actually a pretty important part of the process, and it’s sad that it’s being overlooked in the modern rush to meet deadlines.

    That feeling of wondering whether what you’re doing is in any way valuable is also familiar to me, and I think to most writers. I think sometimes we have to question what we’re doing, and be our own harshest critics; that’s how we learn and improve. The problem is that we can all too easily become mired in that self-doubt. I laughed at the result of a recent survey that suggested that 60% of the UK population wanted to be authors. I suspect that most of the respondents didn’t have a clue what writing actually entails…

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves March 4, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    Hi Mari and thanks for your kind comments.

    I’m not unduly worried by the hiatus – my mind is just overwhelmed by the other tasks that i could be getting on with – house restoration, spring cleaning, garden tidying, catching up with people, etc, etc. And I’m sure you’re right – plenty of creative activity is taking place in dim-lit recesses of my consciousness.

    60% of the UK’s population want to be authors… I’m laughing too. As an idle ambition, that’s fine, I think. If it were to be translated into a further ocean of words, I fear for the results. Most of my colleagues – and they’re educated – can’t craft a correctly constructed sentence… Heaven help us.

  3. masgautsen March 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Nice to see you back. Hope you’re mental fatigue is lessening.

  4. Paul Sutton Reeves March 4, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    Thank you, Maja. I’m waiting for the Easter hols to get my brain back!

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