Thursday, November 27, 2008

Taking myself off.

It's probably no surprise as I've talked about it before, but this novel seems to be much more difficult to write than The Sound of Butterflies. For a start, when I wrote TSOB, I was fancy-free and could write at any time of the day or night with nobody to answer to (apart from the year and a half I was working full-time and put it on hold). Now I have boss - a two-year old boss - who demands that I down tools at 4.45 to catch the bus home and spend time with him before he goes to bed, and in the weekends that I spend all day with him. As for the evenings: my brain puts up a 'gone fishing' sign and shuts up shop. On top of my new restricted hours, this novel is turning out be far more complex in subject matter, themes, characters and structure. At least, that is how it seems in my head at the moment. I'm sure once it is all out, and polished, it will seem simple and breezy.

I just feel that every time I start to make some headway, the day finishes, or more often, the week finishes and it's time for a break. I mentioned to my husband that when I felt bogged down with my last one, that would be the time to take myself away somewhere to be on my own with no phone, no TV, and nobody to talk to, even if just for a couple of days to give myself a boost. I did it when I was writing chapter 4 of The Sound of Butterflies, which was quite a dense chapter, with a lot of research. I got to the point where I had done the research and just wasn't sure how to write the chapter. So off I went to Murawai for three days on my own. And wow, did it work. I wrote the whole chapter in three days. That chapter is about 13,000 words, or 44 pages long. It is the single biggest burst of writing I've had in my life. Not only did I get that down on paper, but it also meant that I had gathered a momentum which kept me going for months, right up until about chapter 10 or 11, when I ran out of money (and then some) and had to get a job.

I felt a little glum that it's not so easy for me to do that now, but I have a very understanding husband who did not hesitate to tell me to get going, if that's what I need, that they'll be fine without me for a couple of days.

So I can happily report that on Monday morning I am heading to a bach (or crib, since we're in the South Island) two hours north of Christchurch to see if I can't find that muse that only comes around when the internet and TV have been banished and when there are windy beach walks to be had and chocolate to be eaten. I'll be taking my ancient dunger of a laptop and squinting into its tiny screen for three whole days (and two nights), with no blogs to read, no emails to check, and lots of lovely (research-related) books to devour.

Right now I feel like the luckiest novelist in the world.

4 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

Happy writing in isolation. I know for myself that i would suck at writing in isolation, just because I have got to the rhythm of carving a little slice of time every time and sticking to it, there was that quote sometime ago I put on my blog, about showing up every day even if it is only to add a comma, so once can have their head in the world of the novel.

Don't worry, I can do some of the blog/internet phaffing on your behalf as I have only 3 chapters to edit and am starting to flirt and re-new flirting with old and new ideas....If I see your muse hanging about here, I will tell her to bugger off back to you

Marianne said...

I'm glad. May it be fruitful.

Mark Hubbard said...

You can't beat getting away into your own head from time to time Rachael. Quite apart from the writing, it can be a recharging of the batteries.

But good luck with the writing,also.

The Paradoxical Cat said...

Sounds wonderful! Have fun, and don't worry about us. :-)

P x