The Writing Diaries! #1
So since finishing work for the term, I have ploughed headfirst into my WIP because I make the most headway in the holidays. Combine that with watching several NaNoWriMo and Book Diary vlogs, and this post churned itself out of my head. Here's what happened on my first long weekend of the Christmas break... Ho ho ho!
9pm. UKYA Chat finishes. I am full of all the enthusiasm. Then I open my WIP and realise that with my reordering I am now desperate to skip a few thousand words and get on to ‘the good bit’. Decide these scenes are serving a plot purpose but clearly need rehashing if I’m that bored by them. Go on to twitter to see if anyone else is writing so we can gee each other up. Reach for a mince pie and stare at my latest candle purchase, hoping it will offer some kind of divine inspiration.
It does not.
10pm. Give up on novel writing and start doing some more work / writing for Oh My Shakespeare, in the hope that writing something totally different will wake my novel brain up. Even though I’ll probably just do the blog content planning then go to bed and read Crown of Midnight and cry. A lot. (But not as much as in QoS or EoS, amirite?! *wails* )
9am. Wake up and check twitter and try to decide whether to do blog writing or WIP writing. Watch Alice Oseman’s book diaries for inspiration. Lie in bed and think about whether to break through those problem scenes I identified or whether to just plough on with the rest of the edit because nothing that happens in that scene has plot events that I’m massively changing (compared to other scenes).
9.30am. I decide to plough on and leave those scenes behind. Light all the Christmas candles and fairy lights and watch @bookbellereads nanowrimo vlogs to get myself in the writing mood. Decide to have a shower to let my story ideas fester for a bit before I get going on my WIP again.
10am. Try not to get sucked into booktube. Rummage through all my boxes and bags because I can’t remember where I left my story notebooks. (I’m writing this entire novel by hand and then editing as I type up for a ‘proper’ first draft, rather than a ‘draft zero’ which is what’s in my handwritten notebooks).
Then I try and pick a soundtrack to clear my head but also get in the writing mood. It’s definitely too early for some Clint Mansell epics.
NB: If you listen to soundtracks like Skyrim, Merlin, or The Fountain by Clint Mansell, please leave a comment with a recommendation! I am also in LOVE with The Piano Guys so anything along those lines would be very gratefully received because I CANNOT write in silence. CANNOT.
11am. Have procrastinated by deciding I need breakfast and hot chocolate before I can write anything. Cue make up time, which always takes me much longer on a weekend, so I catch up on Zoella videos I haven’t seen yet (especially cos I love watching makeup tutorials for ideas while I’m doing my make up!).
Current words written / edited: 0.
2pm. Went out for lunch. Wrote precisely nothing. Did not even think about plot holes and characters. Hoping this works out by translating into ALL THE WORDS this afternoon.
5pm. I watch Class to try and get the writing inspiration going.
5.45pm. I’M IN A GLASS CASE OF EMOTION. How am I going to watch Strictly in an hour when I can’t even process this because SO MANY FEELINGS. (if you haven’t been watching Class, WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOURSELF? Go and watch it immediately! It’s like a Patrick Ness book. Except watching it. You will cry AT LEAST as much as your standard Patrick Ness novel. If not more. *spoiler redacted* )
6pm. It’s writing time. I have to process these emotions omg! I’m going to move on to Part Two of the WIP despite having chronic plot holes and things that need fixing because I have wanted to write this scene for AGES and frankly I have too many feelings to be sensible right now.
This involves starting a new notebook. The fear of the blank page, despite knowing the entire scene already, is temporarily paralysing. But I did it! New notebook! More words! Excitement!
6.30pm. I have written some words!!! But leave the scene half way through because Strictly is about to start… And you totally write better the next day having stopped mid-flow, right?
9pm. Cannot see anything because I’m crying over Ore. MARRY ME YOU BEAUTIFUL GENE KELLY OF A MAN!
9.30pm. Bedtime. Have an early get-up tomorrow and there’s no getting back to the novel after the amount of television-induced emotions and weeping I’ve suffered.
ORE AND JOANNE <3
8am. Up and that means brunch! Keep checking the bus timetable because seriously, how are buses only every hour on a Sunday?! #ruralperks
9.50am. Sprint for the bus. Because I NEVER LEARN.
10am. Get on bus. Also, when did buses get so expensive?! Put one of my writing playlists on and instantly regret my body’s inability to write / read on any transport other than a train. My characters want to PLAY, darn it!
1pm. Arrive at writer house after accidentally directing us the entirely opposite way. Good people and good food and good conversation awaits!
6pm. I leave the writer house with a brain fizzing with ideas. Have had some excellently productive conversations about burnings, hypothetical gunpowder quantities for Victorian-esque technology, hypothetical trading deals to be able to manufacture said explosive, and whether certain kinds of brain damage would show up on a dissection, be it on an obvious or microscopic level.
I love these people!
8pm. Get on a bus for the last leg of the journey. Make a new writing playlist and immediately start sparking ideas about the next ‘phase’ of my WIP that I left halfway through a scene last night. Positively buzzing with plot and feelings and ideas.
9pm. I’m home! Process writing thoughts by leaving them to stew while I take off my makeup and catch up on @aliceoseman @bookbellereads and @lucythereader youtube updates. (FYI Lucy did an amazing Writing Q&A on her channel the other day so you should definitely check it out!)
This turns into a present wrapping session. I always forget to buy ribbon and pretty things. I add that to tomorrow’s to-do list because CHRISTMAS.
My story is dancing in my head. Make a mental note to myself to make sure my notebooks are by my bed tonight because this feels like I might wake up with WORDS tomorrow…
8am. Get up, breakfast, mooch, and decide a writing day is in order.
10am. Leave for Bath. Spend most of the journey being ridiculously indecisive about music. (How sad do I NEED to be for this next bit of plot?!)
11am. After doing not-very-constructive laps of Bath shops in the hope the Christmas things I need will miraculously appear before my very eyes (they do not) I go and park in Waterstones. Feeling very nervy as I think I’ve listened to too much intense Clint Mansell for this early in the morning. I may be taking on board a few too many of my poor traumatised character’s feelings.
11.50am. Feeling so blue about writing that I go on twitter, watch the latest Alice Oseman book diary, and continue to fail at finding music that doesn’t make me feel like a quivering mess of a human. Writing epic arcing fantasy is SO HARD.
12.10pm. Something goes ‘click’ in my brain, and I reach for my notebook…
1.15pm. Have to stop writing because HAND CRAMP OW. I am thanking youtube for The Piano Guys because their music has just rejuvenated me from writerly melancholia. Written about five pages in an hour which is approximately 1-1.5k for my handwriting! I love Moleskine notebooks and fountain pens – only way my fingers don’t swell up / rub when I’m writing by hand.
2.30pm. Start writing again.
2.45pm. I cannot feel my thumb. Decide this is invitation to try the shops for Christmas wrapping and ribbon once again. Also this scene is A+ but I have literally no idea where it is going. (I’ve written another two pages since lunch! Yay me!)
4.30pm. Christmas wrapping successfully purchased. Definitely time for more writing. I hibernate in Starbucks with a large chai tea because let’s be honest, I’ve not had caffeine since 9am and I am STRUGGLING. (Also this place opens late so if I get on a roll nobody’ll evict me until half seven.)
5pm. Two of the noisiest, sweariest girls sit themselves on the table next to me. I can hear them over my headphones (loud) and the speakers above my head playing terrible Christmas music (even louder). Try to resist the temptation to a) lose my **** or b) passively aggressively get them to leave. Option B does not seem to work. So I tweet about it instead.
5.30pm. They’re STILL HERE. Why haven’t they LEFT? I start googling random things about pharmaceuticals to try and get me through this scene without leaving an information-sized gap to deal with when I type this up into a first draft. (They’ve still not left. Kind of want to punch things now.)
5.35pm. They start discussing things they need to get. Does this mean they might be leaving?!
5.40pm. False alarm. It’s Christmas present time.
5.45pm. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THEY ARE LEAVING. THEY ARE ACTUALLY LEAVING. *revels in peace and quiet* Also I’ve written nearly three pages whilst simultaneously being irritated like crazy and I seem to have kept the narrative together. Well done distracted me!
6pm. Finish scene. Realise a rather large roadblock of a character development problem. Get a large cup of tea as fuel to think this one out.
6.15pm. This needs further thought. Of a drive-home length. And possibly some flute practice, because music always helps (although I think I’ll need more than practice after this long away from it…)
7.45pm. Go round to my parents’ to pick up some Christmas presents to be wrapped. Get sucked in to the football (I love my football).
10.30pm. I have shouted at the television a lot which has made me feel much better. And now I am home.
11pm. My brain is yet to switch off. I decide to start wrapping more presents. How do full-time writers COPE? My brain feels as if it has been fried, and yet is DETERMINED to keep going.
1am. I need my jammies, my bed, and a Headspace sleep meditation. This much thinking can’t be good for me.
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I hope you enjoyed this writing diary! Would love to hear all about your writing processes in the comments :) And good luck with whatever writing projects you are working on!