Thursday 23 July 2009

Not Writing

This week I am too busy to write. I even sent a message round to the wonderful members of The Man Who Painted Agineszka's Shoes to explain. This is, after all, the week that I have to get Songs From the OtherSide of the Wall finally ready so I can start selling physical books on September 1st. And I need to help my fellow Year Zeros, Larry and Oli do the same so they can also get their books on sale for then. Oh, and my wife's textbook has a final deadline of Jly 31st, so I really should help her proof it.

In other words, for a week, the fiction needs to go on hold. So I set up what I believe to be an important debate over at Aggie's Shoes, on the question of whether culture should be free, as part of giving participators an all around experience.

but then - rather like what happens in Marie Darrieussecq's biting Pig Tales that I've just finished, something started happening.

I went out in the pouring rain yesterday to deliver a form to the finance office (yes I DO lead an interesting life), and came back to find a fully developed pitch for my next novel written out longhand in my head. And no matter how much I thought about gutters and margins and formatting page numbers, all that was going round my head was the scene of Dan (my protagnist, not me), sitting in a chair in Gdansk with Agnieszka's parents, as it slowly dawns on him there is soemthing very very wrong and they may, after all, be totally mad.

I was almost feeling feverish (perhaps Pig Tales had put the H1N1 in me?). My fingers were twitching. My skin started aching and itching. I sat down at my computer and, lo and behold, come this morning an 1100 word chapter had appeared on the Aggie wall. My skin went calm, my temperature subsided, and all was calm.

Now, though, I feel that itch that urge all over again. I have some notes and before very long I have a terrible feeling the opening of my new novel will have emerged, squirming and squeezing itself through my pores until it hits the screen.

A simple message, then. If you're considering it might be better not to write: don't. The words will find their own way out. Far better to let them do it on your terms.

Oh, and I believe those of you who wish may be able to purchase a copy of Songs From the Other Side of the Wall now by clicking here. But I'm not 100% sure. I do know it will be on Amazon in plenty of time for September 1st, though. Which, if I hadn't given in and written, may well not have been the case.


  1. I know the feeling. I had planned on not working on any fiction until I'd finished the editing on Internet Famous (which I finished last night, btw) but a couple weeks ago this story just refused to keep quiet and I had to start writing it. I'm about 28k words in now, and have already posted into to Autho. And now, before I'm even half-way through that one, I've got another one that's trying to push it's way in. I'm determined to make it wait, though, and have just been jotting down notes as I think of things.

    I have yet to find a way to stop writing. And I feel like if I ever did stop, I'd either go insane or just give up and die.

  2. They just won't let go, will they? I listen to people sometimes talking about block, and I'm sure we're both sitting there thinking the other one's so lucky :-)