Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Good Fight

The main thing for me when preparing to write is to have my workstation exactly as it should be, otherwise the struggle to produce will be weighed by the negative dynamic of distraction.

But that comes later. First off, for a successful session to happen, I must have a pillow at my back, with another on my lap, followed by a foot cushion on the coffee-table so  that my feet are rested and my knees are up at the correct angle for me to sit back in my armchair and be able to write longhand without discomfort.

The manuscript, usually an A4 hardback, sits nicely on my lap pillow, with dictionary, style-bible, notebook, and pens to my right, well out of the way of my left hand - my writing hand.

Music in the background, because there has to be, is usually a classical assortment – the kind that goes subliminal – that doesn’t have to be listened to, but still wins full appreciation.

Then I write; one scene or chapter, nothing more, though I usually stop before the climactic moment to give me something to return to. It’s always good to have the end of a moment to complete before moving on to a relatively new beginning.

The only break I take is the time required to put the kettle on to make a cup of tea – maybe once every hour, which is just about the way it should be because tea needs to be appreciated and can only be in its singularity.

When I’ve accomplished my objective, I go for a walk and reflect on what I’ve written, gathering along the way a vague, though germinating, picture of what’s to come.

Then I return, boot up the laptop, and transcribe the work onto my hard-drive, using this process as the simplest of initial reviews.

On the other hand, if things aren’t right at the beginning, if the head’s way, or the budgies are acting up, distraction slips its far-reaching tendrils into my head and I’m up and away at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen too often.

It won’t be long now before I’m finished this first draft. Then a new phase begins. It’s a struggle, it’s a fight, but it’s a good fight, and I’m on the winning team.

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