September 23, 2014 by jeliwobble
The worst thing about ‘knowing you have a novel in you, somewhere’ is looking for it and not finding it.
I have known I can write since I was six, writing my own Ladybird books about field mice or families who live in huge houses or dolls who come to life at night. Ever since that point, I have this deep ingrained need to write. I can go months, years even, without putting pen to paper when, suddenly, my head gets completely full of a weird fizzing noise. It drowns everything else out, I can’t read, I can’t watch tv, I can’t even concentrate on cooking so I burn stuff. It drives me absolutely crazy for a few days until I realise what it is and the only thing that has ever shut it up is closing my eyes and letting my pen wander.
In those mad moments, I can write a poem, a short story, even the first few chapters of a longer piece, but they are largely amorphous blobs of words which start in the middle of something then tail off into nowhere. I come back to the longer pieces time and time again and stare despairingly at the incredible potential of the idea that has stopped dead. Sometimes, I try writing more of it. One novel in potentia has had three chapters added to its original two since it was first written nearly 20 years ago. It’s utter bobbins, because it’s a rambling mess, but it’s there and it’s something and, you never know, one day it will be excavated off one of my many computers gathering dust at the back of the attic, and all my descendants will mourn my lack of being able to maintain any kind of writing momentum…
Barbara Cartland used to make herself write 1000 words a day, even if they weren’t ‘good’ ones. Now, I am not comparing myself to the Paragon of Romantic Writers, not in any way, but I have nap time at the moment, I will have pre-school when nap time disappears, I have these few hours to myself, I could write a few hundred words in that time.
Just a few hundred words.
I do that *anyway*! While I could be sitting and writing ‘My Novel’, instead I am, of course, sitting and writing a blog, emails to friends, Facebook statuses, and throw away comments on opinion boards that no one really takes any notice of.
The only person who gets in the way of me writing my novel is me. That said, I have sat myself down and had strong words with myself about this, and the conclusion I came to was where we came in. Even though I stand in my own way of writing it, even if I did get out of the way of myself and sit down to write it, I am pretty sure I would just be sat there…waiting.
I know it’s in there somewhere, I just can’t find it.