Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No excuse this time

I make you wait sometimes don't I? Well to be totally honest I make you wait a lot, sorry guys. I don't even have a viable excuse. Life's been happening, personal issues don't go away just because one moves across the world. But it's all about change; as we all know change isn't easy and just because the move is done doesn't mean the change is completed. Change is something that takes quite a long while to fully happen and it can be painful while it does. There's always a reason for time honoured sayings - as I keep telling you. They don't talk about uprooting yourself because it's easy, it's as painful as it sounds and it takes a long time to put down new roots.

So I've been settling into a new routine, a new life, a new home - well new everything. I've committed myself to more change by deciding to write this book on the animal shelter instead of immediately looking for teaching work. It's a gamble, but I'm clearly a risk taker (and you have no idea how surprised I am about that) or I wouldn't be here. I feel really strongly that I am meant to write this book and each time I talk to Monique I feel it even more. This is a story that should be written, a person that everyone should know about and a cause that deserves recognition. I just hope I can do her and her shelter justice, and perhaps along with that raise the profile of all the animal shelters in Egypt.

I was going great guns, writing a lot every day but then I got sick again and this time I don't even know what caused it, maybe it was just a virus. I was sick for a few days, the can't even walk to the bathroom without needing to sit down kind of sick, and it was not fun at all. It's taken several days of recuperation and I'm still not feeling exactly right but I'm certainly well enough to write again. And while I need to get on with book type writing I've been feeling really guilty about this blog. So for those of you that check in and wonder just what exactly I'm doing and if I'm even still here - here I am, yay!

Really I've been a little rudderless, it's strange how ceasing the routine you've become used to after years of doing it makes you feel adrift. I'm getting a rhythm going again now, and it feels really good to be writing. The werewolf book is still going along, going really well in fact. I now spend several days working on the werewolf book, and then after I see Monique I spend several days writing up my notes from that, getting my ideas and plans for that book in order, doing what research I feel the need for and coming up with further questions for that very patient lady. As I go along the shape of the book is coming together, and the theme and writing style is beginning to show itself to me. It's very exciting in fact, I'm loving writing both of the books.

I've no idea how other writers are with the outside world when they write, I expect every one is different. For me, I get completely into the world and the characters while I'm writing - much the same as when reading in fact. So when people talk to me it takes me some time to even process what they've said let alone formulate a response. I lose touch with friends a little, not intentionally but I just forget to contact them or to reply to a message (if you're one of those friends, sorry!). I wake up with a vague idea about one of the characters and lie awake for hours deciding if I should use it and how it will impact the other characters.

I also, annoyingly, have characters form while I'm asleep and pop into my head and refuse to go away (the other day I had five). This means that I have to figure out how they fit into the story and where they should be introduced. Sometimes it is a completely left field character; as an example, I currently have a very regal white cat which is determined to be part of the book and it isn't going to fit where logically it should. No, this cat is going to fit where I need to completely rethink another character - well that's a lie since the other character simply revealed more of herself to me. You'd think as the author that I would have control over these characters, and to a certain extent I do, but not entirely.

I was worried about juggling both the books because of this tendency to lose myself in the storyline, but it is working out just fine. It seems I have a very efficient switch in my head and the process of going to see Monique and talking to her turns off the werewolf book and turns on her book. Then when I have written all I can on the shelter book, I put it to one side and continue with the werewolf book. They are two different writing processes of course. One is fingers on the keyboard and let it come out and the other is factual so there is a lot more research and planning. But still the writing process for that one is very enjoyable to me.

A bonus for the very productive writing days, the ones where I write over 4000 words is that when I go to bed my mind is still and quiet. The words in my head are reduced, I feel calm and I sleep much better. There is a pressure from all those words that I don't feel until it's gone. They come back, if I don't write for a few days - like when I was sick - they start spinning around and the script in my head starts running faster and I get an anxious feeling I also didn't know I had until it was gone. So I need to write, and I am very lucky that I have this time to be able to.

Of course in the time honoured tradition of writers, I also have the time to procrastinate. I'm still a champion at that, which is why I need to have a routine that I stick to. I don't make myself write a set number of words because then I obsess on the numbers instead of the writing. So instead I write until my fingers stop, take a break, and then do it again. There are awesome days with the words flying off my fingers and images from future unwritten parts flashing in my head. Others I'm stuck on a scene that is really only to get the poor people from one place to another and I write and rewrite and cut paragraphs and then put them back and generally achieve very little.

As happens so often, I went off on a completely different tangent to the idea in my head when I sat down to write. And the one I sat down to write was different to the one I wrote in my head while lying awake last night - so I guess I have two future blogs ready to go ;)

Todays theme? Just that I feel blessed to be here, doing what I love to do. Whether it will work out for me is in the hands of God, but I'm so lucky that I can be here, giving it a go. My Grandmother told me (many, many, many, many times in an exasperated tone) that if you're going to spend time doing something you may as will do it as well as you can, because you can't get that time back. If you don't do it - whatever it is - to the best of your ability, you're wasting your own life and that's a really sad thing to have done. Eventually her words, possibly because of the increasing irritation to her tone, sank in. So here I am, doing it as well as I can and trying not to waste my own time.

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