Deadhead

This weekend, I finally broke.

Since January my mind has been living in the fictional world I’ve created. Only I’m no JK Rowling and this isn’t fucking Hogwarts. My main character is a psychotic, coke-addicted politician. The world is nasty and violent, and while there are flashes of light here and there (if only to accentuate the darkness), it’s starting to get to me.

Most weekday mornings since I started this whole debacle, I have rolled out of bed at 6am, jumped in the shower and then spent an hour in immersed in this horrible world. I have sat at my Mac with an espresso (yeah, coffee, I know) and an almond milk and berry and banana smoothie (healthy, deal with it). During my morning commute, I feel happy that I’ve achieved something, but also kind of depraved. Still, sometimes Moorgate station rivals my world for sheer ugliness. I’m surrounded by this shit. #London

At around 6pm, I get home and spend two more hours at it.

On the weekend, after some scrambled eggs and a cup of green tea, I’ll start working at about 9am. Depending on what my social calendar allows (friends and family often get in the way of fiction), I’ll spend anywhere between three and six hours writing during those two days.

I guess you could say I’m a creature of habit.

But last Saturday, I just couldn’t go there anymore. I needed a holiday.

Of course, guilt soon caught up with me and I forced myself back (not kicking or screaming, but whimpering slightly). I wrote 200 words of crap and then gave up.

‘The hardest thing to edit is a blank page,’ they say. But actually, if you’ve written a page and it’s not terrible, the worst thing you can do is try to edit it when you don’t have all your faculties about you.

Writing is butchery; editing is surgery.

See? That’s about the standard in evocative metaphors my brain can churn out right now.

But this blog was started to log the joys and the pitfalls of writing. Without the troughs there would be no peaks.

You can read all the self-help, motivational blogs and books you like, but sometimes you just need a goddam rest.

So I’m giving myself the week off. I’ll blog if the fancy takes me, but that’s all.

See you when I wake up.

20 comments

  1. Considering you’re on a similar sort of schedule as me – writing in early mornings and post-work evenings – I think a holiday is much deserved. Sometimes your brain needs time to recoup.

    When I hit my wall in April this year (bad times all round), I reassured myself that it happens to all of us. Even Ian Rankin took almost a year off after he hit a point where he was depressed, miserable and never wanted to write again. Announcing this at the Edinburgh Book Festival 2013, he returned in March this year with a new book to discuss and a fresh sense of why he wants to be a writer. And whilst you’re not Rankin yet, I doubt needing a week to gather your thoughts and piece together a semblance of sanity is a bad thing, especially if you’re delving into dark spaces. I’ll bet anything that you’ll be dragged back in half the time though – sometimes the shadows won’t let you go. Again, seems to be something that happens to all of us.

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    1. Reassuring it’s not just me! How long did you take off? I have solved a major characterisation problem during my respite, which has just created more work, although (hopefully) a better novel.

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  2. I completely understand this feeling to pull away from what you’re writing, especially if it’s dark. I prefer to writer darker themes and characters and sometimes, it’s like wait a minute. These are not my thoughts. This is not what’s actually happening to me. It’s one of the pros and cons of being a writer. You get hooked, but sometimes too hooked. The pull back will help a lot, I believe, and I wish you luck 🙂

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      1. Yeah, I can relate. I write a psychopath character with a God complex. Sometimes I say to myself, writing him shouldn’t come as easily as it does.

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  3. Haha I love the humour! And welcome back to planet Earth 😀 Writing can be a difficult thing. I write a bit on the train on my commute to London too…some mornings are productive, others not so. A break is always good…airs the head and the imagination 🙂

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    1. Thanks Donna. Oh, I save my actual commute for reading. I do the writing at home beforehand. I’m generally late for work…
      Having a break is great. I get the guilts though…
      Hope your commute is not the shit fight mine often is!

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      1. That’s a really good routine to have. The hardest thing for a writer is to get into the routine of writing everyday and you have nailed it! I write on my phone via an app…so there is a bit more privacy (no fellow commuters watching me writing scary things haha). Though the Jubilee is overpacked and rocks a fair bit so sometimes I have to give up typing 🙂

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      2. Ah the Jubilee – the queen of tube lines. At least you get the posh doors behind the glass. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve already made it in life. Everything else now is just a bonus.

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  4. So true! Especially when you are writing tense and gritty stuff. I admire your discipline. I am trying to work full time and write in evenings and weekends – not an easy task! Happy Wednesday

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