• Always in the mood!

    20 July 2010

    On Saturday night I went to mass for the first time in ages, because it was "month's mind" for my Grandad. That's a tradition in Ireland (well, I say tradition, but I think it's quite a new one!) where, a month or so after a person dies, you have a mass dedicated to them. I don't normally go to such masses, but since it was my Grandad, I felt I need to make an exception this time! I went back to my Granny's house after that for some grub and to chat with family and friends, and then to the pubs in Pallaskenry to have some drinks and let off some steam.

    After a quiet Sunday I started the first draft of my new book on Monday. It's book 6 of what will hopefully be my next series after the Mr Crepsley Saga -- and no, before anyone asks, I can't yet reveal anything about it!! It will probably be next year before I can talk freely about it, so please be patient!! I wrote 11 pages on Monday, and 10 on Tuesday. I'm always pleased when I hit my target of 10 pages a day, but I was especially pleased with these two days because I REALLY didn't feel like writing on Monday!! I woke late and felt quite sluggish. But I forced myself to sit down and do the work, even though it meant working later than I usually like to. I was brighter on Tuesday, but I had to spend much of the day helping to install a new statue in my garden. (Well, my help wasn't really needed, but I always like to pitch in when I'm having a new statue delivered -- it makes me feel more involved with the process.) I'd written 3 pages in the morning, and when I came in, tired and hungry at 4.00pm, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write 7 more pages. I had a very good excuse not to, but the trouble with accepting excuses when you work for yourself is that if you do it once or twice, you'll soon find yourself making excuses all of the time!! So I sat down and, again, forced myself to write.

    To any would-be writers out there, I can't emphasise enough the importance of forcing yourself to meet your targets. Those targets can be as modest or massive as you choose -- it can be a page a day, five days a week, or half a page a day at the weekends, or twenty pages a day, seven days a week -- whatever you feel comfortable with!! But when you set a target, meet it. Don't make excuses to yourself. Force yourself to work. When I was younger and starting out, I hoped I would only write when inspired, that my muse would take me and I'd write in a whirlwind. In my experience, that doesn't happen very often. You need to grind out stories, push yourself hard, write even when you don't feel like writing. If you wait to "be in the mood", you'll probably find you're never much in the mood and won't make any fast progress. Writing isn't something that happens to you -- it's something you MAKE happen. It isn't always fun at the start of the day, but there's no better feeling than working hard and grinding out a day's target and being able to look back at it at the end of the day (like I am now) knowing that you have those pages in the bag!!! In fact, writing's usually much more rewarding when you have to work hard than it is when you're bright and chirpy and the words flow like water...

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