A writer’s focus.

Been so determined to finish the new draft of King of Rabbits, but life happens. Damn it! It’s really hard to be disciplined when I’m so easily distracted, although I average 5000 words a week. So not too bad, just wish it was double that, but then there are Dad’s hospital appointments, working for the man and Nan’s dementia putting her hand down the toilet; all o’ dat!

For weeks it’s been sunny so everything feels easier and I can forgive myself for only hitting 600 words instead of 1500 because letting it go becomes easier too. In winter, I’m a shrivelled raisin of rage.

I’m at the point of the plot where shit’s about to go dooooWn. Character cracks are showing and the atmosphere’s as thick as maple syrup, or at least it is in my head. Not sure how I’m slapping it out. It’s why I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks.

I’ve been concentrating.

Drifting from my bed, to cafés, to pubs for renewed focus because that’s what’s required. Not just the organic coffee, the bitter green tea or the glowing pint of cider; what’s needed is the spying and eavesdropping (the f*ck out of people) to drown me in ideas.

Like today, I couldn’t get my head around Kai (the protagonist’s) birthday scene so I escaped my bedroom and the musky incense sticks and sought an oat milk latte, stealing lyrics from the women next to me and because there were no men about, I went to the pub over the road and noticed they all wore khaki shorts. Ha! Such a small detail, but suddenly the men in Kai’s birthday scene weren’t naked.

I know, right? These details should be easy. I’m always bitch-slapping myself with, ‘You don’t have enough imagination to be a fiction writer.’ But then I remind myself, I want authors like me on Waterstones’ shelves so I’ve got to keep going, blagging myself through it.

Focusing on each scene; cleansing – clearing my mind; moisturising – asking what needs to happen; priming – scribbling notes and finally, brushing on the foundation – nailing those first words that build a scene. Writing’s like makeup.

Writing’s hard. Gavin Cologne-Brookes (my manuscript tutor at uni) said to me that writing is a craft and when I started the course I didn’t fully understand. Now I get it. Over and over, I must keep preparing, tweaking, rewriting – deleting, writing again and only after months, months, years does it start to look any good and still then, it’s not as good as it needs to be.

But, I forgive myself for it not being perfect or brilliant. I’m doing it and that’s good enough. The rest will come.

Within this draft, not only do I find it tricky writing from a 5 year old perspective (might change his age to 9), but I’m also juggling the techniques and angles one must include for it be any good – it’s not just dialogue, it’s mannerisms, setting, characterisation, atmosphere and blah blah blah. Daaaamn, it’s a headache.

Why? How did I end up taking this lover of mine so seriously? I’ve always been crap at relationships. Ah, but that in itself tells me, writing is mine – I’m selfish -, all mine (I’m an infatuated, jealous and obsessive lover), to fall into and cherish. Writing before anything

Keep going, keep going.

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