Confessions of a Part Time Writer

So, blog reader(s), I am struggling.

There. The wound is laid bare and bleeding for everyone to have a good poke at. The salt’s just over there behind you if you’re fancying a nice bit of Friday sadism. See it? On the shelf there behind the bottle labelled ‘Your Own Medicine’? Tip: don’t swallow any of that. You’ll regret it.

Got it? Right. Rub away.

I am struggling to get my head back into a writing rhythm and it’s making me increasingly angry with myself. I have got approximately 50% through Project: Carpark. I’d have gotten a damn sight further if I hadn’t decided to scrap 75% of what I’d written and start over. But it’s achingly slow. I can’t work out if that’s my own lack of discipline, or if I’m just over-analysing every single word that goes onto the page… or what. In my more optimistic moments, I reassure myself that it’s because I’m putting extra love and care into the process. In my moments of clarity, my inner self simply points and laughs.

You are so totally going to miss your deadline on this.

That’s the phrase that keeps rattling around in the cavernous wasteland of my thoughts. You are going to have to ask for an extension at this rate. Part of me knows that should that happen (and there is still plenty of time, I’m probably panicking over nothing), my editor will likely be OK with it. But I don’t want it to come to that. I am going to have to get knuckling down and increase my output.

I think for me, part of the problem stems from the fact that I am neither a leisure writer nor a full time writer. I have a full time job (because as everyone knows, being an author is NOT going to keep a roof over your head unless you’re established, tap into a social vein or are just pretty financially stable to start with) and that takes up eight hours a day of writing time. On the weeks that I have the Son, I lose another hour driving up to Durham to collect him and bring him home. Then, when I have him in the house, I don’t like to shut myself off and write. I like to spend time chatting and laughing with him. He’s my son. It’s what I’m meant to do.

Next week he’s not with me, so I may be more productive. I think I need to go back to the way I was when I wrote The Gildar Rift. My whiteboard with ‘current word count’ and ‘monthly target’ written on it. That actually had the desired effect of driving me forwards. The simplest methods often work.

A potential boost will hopefully come next week. I have a meeting in Nottingham with one of my OTHER editors (I’m getting myself a collection of them – they’re kind of like Pokemon, only more literate) and I’m hoping to come out of that meeting massively buoyed up and re-enthused in general.

To be fair, I was reading something yesterday that totally fired me up. Unfortunately, by the time I finished reading it, it was bed time, so it took over the writing window! But… it’s OK. It’ll even out. I know it’ll be OK – I constantly second-guess myself. Onwards and upwards.

In other news, I just finished reading ‘Southern Gods’ by John Horner Jacobs. I bought it quite some time ago and got about halfway through. Then something happened and my attention was pulled off it. That was a mistake. I finally read the whole thing and I recommend it heartily. It’s creepy, it’s quite graphic in places and it just has this… slightly grimy and humid feel to it. If you get the chance to read it – do so.

Right, it’s Friday. One more day of work and the weekend is upon us. See? I write a blog post and my enthusiasm for everything, ever is renewed.

Put the salt back on your way out, would you?

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6 thoughts on “Confessions of a Part Time Writer

  1. Tony Lane says:

    I’m amazed that anybody write the volume or quality of your work whilst doing a full-time job. As for spending time with your son enjoy it whilst you can. My 16yr old rarely wants to spend time with parents anymore. Keep up the great work as both a writer and a parent.

  2. AJ says:

    Sorry to hear about your writing deficit problems, Sarah. But you know what, you can pull through it. You are a great writer and I’ve full faith in you 🙂

    Deadlines, schmeadlines.

  3. Gav Thorpe says:

    Forget daily targets and forget word counts. That can come back later. Pick the coolest bits and write thosem and while you are doing other stuff think about the other bits and make them the coolest bits.

    To paraphrase something Rick Priestley once said:
    Everyone remembers a great story; nobody remembers if it was late.

    (The original quote was on miniatures but the same applies).

  4. ethanreilly says:

    We all get those moments of self-doubt I think, the courage comes from pushing on despite them – you’ve done it before Sarah, you can do it again! There’s a lot of people out here backing you.

  5. Alex Edwards says:

    It’s one of those painful truths about juggling more than one hat – the hat you wear when you work to pay the bills, the hat you wear when you are a fab Mum, that hat you wear to write about dogs being used as weapons in a brawl, etc – but you have proven that you can wear all three. You’re a fantastic writer and an inspiration to people like myself trying to do the same thing.

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