INTERVIEWER: How many unfinished manuscripts do you have on file? ME:
I have nine in varying stages of incompleteness. I love them all, they start off well, the concepts are intriguing, then I stall. INTERVIEWER: How do you get over writer’s block? ME:
At this point my stories can veer one of two ways. Boringly predictable or Man-I-didn’t-expect-that! And believe me, you will know the difference when the creative spark ignites. The momentum is strong, the words flow and come alive. I run with it and don’t look back. INTERVIEWER: What has made you stop writing a particular story? ME:
When that inspired catalyst fizzles out, mundaneness moves in. My tale slips into the writing doldrums and my incentive fades away. I no longer feel the need to flesh out the plot. Of course, a looming deadline can always prod me into action. INTERVIEWER: Do you prefer plot structure or character development?
ME: Oh, I much prefer characters, I love creating their voices, habits and lifestyles. INTERVIEWER: Do you delete your unfinished work? ME: Perhaps it sounds better if I say I have nine good story ideas pending completion. INTERVIEWER: Does that mean you keep everything you write? ME:
Yes, and I return to scrappy stories on a regular basis to see if they are worth saving. Maybe one of them is a work of genius. To find out, I must keep writing. INTERVIEWER: Do you want a coffee? ME:
Sounds like a good idea!
Do you still doodle on a notepad or scrap of paper? When telephones were fixed items, every office had a blotter with notepad and pen handy. Home phones had a dedicated area littered with paper and old envelopes for note-taking or scribbling a quick message with a stubby pencil. Doodling came into its own while listening to your boss rant or your mother dispense advice. It is quite possible that fifty percent of paper used in the world prior to computers and internet access was used for doodling while on the telephone.
It seems we only used half our brain when talking on the phone and, as evidenced today, we had to be occupied with something else at the same time. Lo, mobile phones were born! Or in other countries, lo, cell phones were born! With access to a myriad of mind-occupying pastimes. And you can personalise any device; doodling without pen or paper. I don’t think it’s necessary to launch into the historic progress of communications over the centuries but I can guarantee it will get more and more streamline, more and more accessible and more and more invasive. Computer art is not really doodling…
I love curlicues and my featured doodle was penned while I was listening to a podcast so perhaps there is still a time and place for doodling. I don’t know where that snail came from but I can use any number of tech devices, themes and programs to jazz him up. Do I want to? Nah, think I’ll just leave him on an old piece of recycled A4 paper.
When Jessie was small the table was tall. She had to sit in a highchair to eat her meals. One day she crawled on to the table. But that was not a good idea. Another time she pulled the tablecloth. That was not a good idea. As Jessie grew, she helped Tiny the dog on to a chair. That definitely was not a good idea. After dinner on Saturday, Jessie had a very good idea. She didn’t need a chair cushion now, And her feet could almost touch the floor. So she helped clear the table. She helped to wash the dishes. Then Jessie went into her bedroom. She tugged the top sheet off the bed. She grabbed her favourite toys. Jessie was tall enough to pull the sheet over the table. It made a tent, it made a cave, it made a cubby,
and Jessie played until bedtime.
My documentation is office-organised but my writing approach is organic. I will have four or five manuscripts simmering away then one will bubble to the top. That’s The One. I pursue it to the end. Sometimes those left simmering, sink to the bottom. Other times a new thought will be added and not even stirred into the mix, it will shine immediately and have my full attention.
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