I’ve still not started the revision of my First Draft and I’m angry at myself for it.
There are reasons, of course. There are always reasons. The main one right now is that I have an unusually large number of social events this week. I try to keep my social interactions to a minimum, but sometimes I guess I’m so God damned charming that people just cannot do without my company.
This is burden I have to bear. Weep for me.
But like a good guitarist never stops thinking about that great chord change or how to make those string bends sound a little sweeter, I guess a good writer doesn’t stop thinking about writing.
Plot, characters, atmosphere. Creating a beautiful little scene. Etcetera.
On my daily commute, I often see this nice, polite, Asian chap who has terrible Parkinson’s. He sits on the train in a tailored suit, trying to read his quivering copy of The Metro. This morning, I saw what looked like a squash racquet in his bag. A guy with Parkinson’s playing squash? Shut up!
As it turns out, the caffeine from my morning espresso had yet to reach my eyes; it was an umbrella, not a squash racquet. But for a minute or so, the character of a squash player with Parkinson’s came alive in my mind.
Maybe I’ll use him, maybe I won’t.
It’s good to give your characters these little quirks and hobbies. It makes them lift off the page and implant themselves into the reader’s imagination. Steal anything around you that you think might be useful. Write it down and store it away. When you’re stuck on a scene or a character, take out the box and see if something fits. You might be surprised.
Regarding procrastination, well, writing a novel is a daunting prospect. If it wasn’t, every fucker would be doing it.
Perhaps feeling a little trepidation is a good thing. It might help me give the medium the respect it deserves.