07 December 2011

For What It's Worth

I have now told several colleagues that I am writing a novel. I never really did this before, talk about my "alternative world" to the professional one. But I don't see the point anymore of the separation. The two spheres don't compete. In point of fact they rather balance each other out.

In an interview with the Guardian, Siddhartha Mukherjee said he wrote The Emperor of All Maladies
 in 15-minute bursts, snatched from scrag ends of his working day. "But the book was also a conversation going on in my head," he quickly adds, "so I'd write after thinking for five hours."

I appreciate that. A little every day is my motto. (See Sustainably Creative for more about that.) I am trying to stick to a minimum daily of word count production of 270, 5 days a week. Any more is a bonus; any less is not something to beat myself up about because if I can't do the 270 there is usually a very good reason. I have reached my goal for the first month of this project -- the draft is now at 10,000 words. 

Talking about writing when you don't have an agent, a publisher, a contract or really know anything about it feels kind of pathetic, close to cringe-making. I feel all too aware that there are a lot of people around who like the sound of, who like being able to say, they are writing a novel. I don't want to become one of those or create that impression. I'm blogging about this for no good reason at all. I've decided to see if I can do this thing and it's in my nature to document the process. It may well end in tears or go up in smoke, who the hell knows. 


  1. If you tell other people about it maybe it is an incentive to get on with it, if only to save face. If no-one knows you have started know-one cares if you don't finish!

  2. It's funny, isn't it, how writing novels is seen as "pathetic" until you publish a bestseller (and sometimes even then...)? I think it's for two reasons. First, yes, there's an awful lot of really bad writing out there (and yours isn't it).

    Second, a lot of people just don't read enough to know good writing from bad, and are apathetic about it. Perhaps there should be more reality shows about writers, make it all seem a bit more glamorous.


  3. @bythewobbly - Maybe! Let's see if I have any self-respect left at the end of this...

    @Jane - Scene One of Reality Writes: Woman in sweatpants, unshowered, typing at a computer/staring into the screen trying to come up with something to type. Close-up on dregs of coffee at bottom of cup. Glamour City!!