It is all very well to be able to write books, but can you wiggle your ears?
Honestly, writing a novel is like travelling long haul, except without the pina colada and friendly smile to greet you at the other end. Hours and hours of sitting can become uncomfortable and fidgetsome. Weirdly, wearing the wrong clothes can subconsciously effect my writing. I begin to get claustrophobic without quite realising why. And once I’m up from my desk… getting me back to work can be like herding cats.
Good writers write what they know. And they only know stuff because they’ve seen it and done it. So when you’re writing and you can hear stuff on the other side of the wall, it can be very alluring. What are you missing out on? Why’s everyone having more fun that you? Is there cake? Seriously – the sound of anything happening while I’m writing can be a big distraction for that reason. Also though, I’m trying to lose myself in another world. And the sound of Coronation Street bleeding through the wall, or an incredibly noisy fan on your computer (just one more reason I’m convincing myself that a new Mac is an essential rather than a luxury) can suck you back to reality. And who wants to live there?
Moths and Spiders
I write at night. My house is dark. My screen is bright. Moths are stupid. Ergo: you know the rest. They always arrive just as I’m breaking through a thought that has been bubbling for ages. But honestly, like screaming babies and disconcerting testicular lumps… ignoring them will NOT make them go away. Catch the moth in your hands (man up, moths are basically rubbish couloured butterflies) and release him towards the moon. Spiders are an altogether more malignant irritant. They have lots of teeth and squillions of eyes. And they know when you’re looking at them. This means, when you spy them and ignore them, they more. The second you stare back at your manuscript, they scarper… and then you simply don’t know where they are. Which means, they’re probably on your sock. Or the back of your neck. You will not settle until he’s caught and ejected from your writing room. This is very much a cup and piece of paper situation. Diagrams available on google.
The Washing Up
Personally, I find it easier to ‘clear the decks’ ahead of a writing session. If I put off the housework, paying the bills, checking email etc, then these things inevitably crop up and jump into my brain as soon as the edit gets complicated. My mind begins to tell me that scrubbing a few pans would be infinately easier and less frustating that trying to complete an arkward paragraph. On the other hand, if you’re struggling to keep your house clean, try embarking upon writing a complicated novel (and which novel isn’t?)… and you’ll have your digs in showhome condition in no time at all.