A fair few weeks ago I travelled to London. Not as glamorous as it sounds. I was sat in a hotel near the airport having attended a training course. Hotel rooms and I have a love hate relationship. The room itself was lovely. It had recently been re furbished and smelt clean and freshly painted. It was bright and quiet ~ perfect. The problem however – it was too hot and the windows were hermetically sealed. I’m sure we’ve all had those heart sink moments when your perfect ‘writing plan’ throws you a curve ball ~ great, a hot stuffy hotel room. I felt uncomfortable and a bit disheartened. My writing time is scarce and I need to make the most of the time I manage to carve out. A hot airless room was not my idea of a conducive creative environment! My immediate reaction was – it’s too hot to write, I don’t feel comfortable and now I’m hacked off. Why am I telling you this? Well hot it may have been but write I must! (I know, I sound like Yoda). I forgo dinner with my colleagues because I need to write. I have found my inner independence and it is very liberating, despite the oven like room. I sacrificed a nice dinner with good company and a glass or 2 of chilled Prosecco – what on earth was I thinking? And there you have it, I have to write. Without sounding all ‘am dram’ it’s the story that only I can write – it’s my story. It’s the story that is burning away inside, willing me to spend time exploring and crafting it. I know I am not the greatest writer, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s something I have to do. To quote Neil Gaiman:
“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.”
So there you have it. He’s right, only I can write this particular story. It’s my thoughts and the creativity inside my head. It may be great, it may not, but it is most definitely mine. So here’s what happened:
The life on the page stares up at me. What now? It asks. This morning I thought I knew, now I’m not so sure. My current muse is the lead character of my second novel and she is under my skin. She is bright, under confident and a lover of spaghetti westerns. Her life is in my hands, at my finger tips as I type. She is firing beams of golden thread for me to catch, I desperately try to weave them into my story, her story. Her words start to sing from the pages. I forget the hot stuffy room, and relax into the tale she is spinning.She is an ordinary girl, her journey began much like any other, doing ordinary things. Tonight however she has made the leap from ordinary to extra ordinary. If I had not stuck with writing in my very hot room I would not be sitting here at 2 am felling a wee bit pleased with myself. I have no idea what just happened. Her life force came to town and captivated me. It was a length of unravelling thread I had to follow.When I sat down to write tonight, my first instinct was to head for the door and straight to the bar. If that had happened, the wheel would not have spun.
That night taught me a few important lessons:
- I need to keep the wheel spinning. By spinning the wheel I formed the yarn and a tale of fine gold thread was the result. That may not always be the case, but if you don’t spin you’ll never know.
- I was taken out of my comfort zone, a hot room is my idea of hell.Initially I pushed against it but I have realised it worked well for me. I encourage you not to become too stayed in your approach to writing (I obviously was). You may be surprised at the results.
I am now over the half way hump of book 2. It feels like a good place to be. The next 2 chapters are quite clear, after that – who knows!
So I encourage you all. When your room is too hot start spinning…..