Saturday, 21 February 2009


This is the weekend when I'm going to break out of my writing rut.

We had our writers' brunch meeting today. As usual I got there a little early, ordered a coffee and got my notepad out to handwrite some thoughts. My mind is completely blank, I wrote. Thank god Elizabeth turned up at that moment, because I think I would have then embarked on a depressed rant about how I'm not writing at the moment.

The rant would have been founded on truth, but not particularly helpful. What was helpful, however, was the fabulous meeting we had today. Instead of us degenerating into non-writing gossip as often happens, we spent at least 90% of the four hours or so actually discussing topics related to writing. This might have been because the group had a different mix today, with a few new faces to keep us focused. Although I must say even before the new faces turned up, we were doing pretty well.

Topics covered today included:
  • Synopses - Everyone hates writing these -- they're hard -- but interestingly it seems that some agents/editors don't want them!
  • What is fantasy? - This kept us going a while, and morphed into a discussion about genre boundaries, how to market cross-genre novels, and writing for readers vs writers. My take is that it's best to keep definitions and labels as broad as possible, so I opt for 'spec fic'.
  • Hooks - What are they? Do they have to be related to the main plot? (I don't think so - a hook is anything that makes you want to keep reading.)
  • NaNoWriMo - Is it healthy to try to churn out 50,000 words in a month? Will they be good words, and if not, does that make the whole concept a waste of time? I think it's beneficial if it helps you sever the connection to your 'inner editor' if you're writing a first draft. I'm yet to test whether it works for me.
So all this is going to energise me into writing this weekend. In fact, I'm going to spend the next three days writing down at the island. I've taken Monday and Tuesday off work, and I'm leaving this evening. At the island there will be no internet or cafes to distract me. (Well, OK there are cafes . . .) I plan to focus focus focus and get my rhythm back. Then when I come back I'm going to write every day for how ever many days it was that it takes to ingrain a habit. Was it 35?

Even better, some of my group are going to come down as well. This was very impromptu, because I wasn't certain enough that I'd take the days off work to arrange for others to come down. But a few of them evidently have commitments that they can shift, and so I will have some company for most of the time I'm down there. This is great, because I actually get more done on a retreat with other writers than I do alone. I think this is because we keep each other focused.

So this explains why I am going to break out of my rut this weekend.

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