I was working at The Old Mill in Killin today. The community is doing a school uniform swap in conjunction with a kids clothing sale . I was there to collect the uniforms. I had a bit of paperwork to do for the shop (I run the wee Reuse shop in the village), but I had time to spare. So, seeing as I had my laptop with me, I decided to pass the remainder of my time editing my novel in progress. I couldn’t think of a better location to edit. The Old Mill is a three storey mill, once used for Tweed making and grain. It is no longer a working mill, but an important part of the village. It sits by the Falls of Dochart, a picturesque spot in the Scottish Highlands. How lucky am I to be able to work on my novel while the water rushes by outside, just me and wee Margaret, the mill ghost.
I took this photo on my phone. My phone camera isn’t the best but I like how this turned out. There are so many colours, much more that my eyes could capture.
Incidentally, one of my friends dyes her own wool and asked me if she could use the colours from my photograph. What a strange and fantastic privelage. The wool will be named and sold as Zoom Moon.
Anyhoo, how is everyone? I’ve been a little bit quiet in the last week. I have begun editing my novel and that is taking up a lot of my free time. I have also been struggling with anxiety, (it comes and goes). This particular spell was bad and I think a lot of it comes from over consuming news (and public opinions). I find it difficult to identify with a lot of people politically, and in current affairs. I’m a lefty of course, and one of them damn woke people. But I have taken a Facebook and Twitter holiday. It’s only been a day and I feel better.
That’s all for now. Just thought I would check in.
This advice is taken in part, from a conversation with a friend on messenger. I thought it might shine some light on my writing process. The question was, how do you motivate yourself to write a full length novel?
Hiya, I had the intention to write every day, but didn’t always manage. I didn’t beat myself up about it though, what’s the point.
Posting on Facebook was a great way to hold myself accountable, if only to myself.
I have a friend, (a non booky friend), who read each chapter after I had finished, errors and all. Her response to the writing, (and I mean response, not feedback at this stage), assured me that what I had written made sense and worked. I have a Helen too, who gives me the more honest and good feedback.
I had a loose plot, but it was loose. I let my imagination guide the shape of the novel and, regularly altered the plot line as I went. I guess the main thing for me was to think of why I wanted to sit down and write and, what I would get out of it. When I found the answer, I began to sit down and write purely for the love of writing. I wanted to enjoy the process, and have fun. I never gave myself pressure, I didn’t beat myself up if it seemed disjointed or went in weird directions, I just kept writing.
I had a rough idea of word count, but not a solid ending so that was changeable, and I did make some major changes in the last chapter and I think it gave the whole story a twist.
But I guess I went at it with a want to write, a real desire to bring my idea to life, to slow down in order to really enjoy what I was writing, and the actual act if writing itself. And with no publishing goal in site at this stage, I found the act of writing, for writings sake, fun. I guess that the process would change when working to a publishing deadline.
A maliable plot. Facebook accountability. A strong desire to bring my story to life. An intention to write. Writing for the love of writing. A desire to enjoy each part of the process.
Another thing. Finishing each chapter on a hook is great for the reader, but also for me as it made returning to the story exciting.
I always leave myself notes of ideas at the end of a chapter too. Scrivener is a great piece of software that lets you break the novel down into wee chunks. It’s not too expensive either. Also, I take notes of loose ends so I always tie them up.
Don’t edit as you go, it’ll slow you down and you’ll get stuck. You’re going to have to edit anyway once it is written. Try just writing and ignoring the mistakes. It is liberating. That’s when your real voice comes out and the magic happens. That’s when you’ll love it for what it is, a weird fucking delve into the unknown.
If you are still struggling, meditation is a good way to shake of expectations. Or a walk before you sit down.
Have you ever stepped outside into a cold morning to find that your garden has been spun into a new world of silver threads and pearl droplets? Think about how hard those tiny spiders have worked to create this masterpiece. Look at the photograph above and imagine only one strand of the web. Now imagine that single strand is the first draft of your novel, short story, poem or whichever creative masterpiece you have just finished writing. Now it’s time to build your web. Editing is the job of going around and around, reworking, re-writing, correcting, enhancing, adding and subtracting, developing and enriching. It’s like building a spider’s world.