Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pulling teeth

Pulling teeth. An expression for when it’s hard to get something done, to draw something out of someone. Today I've been pulling my writing teeth. For some reason my writing has slowed down. Maybe it’s thinking about returning to teaching in the next few weeks. Even though I love it, all that preparation and planning can drain my creative juices. So writing today was like moving through molasses, every word I squeezed out was like a dental extraction (and nearly as painful).

I discovered how many distractions I can talk myself into. Cup of tea, put the washing on, make that phone call, shampoo the cat. You get the drift. I admit I succumbed to several cups of tea, and I don't have a cat to shampoo (luckily, because I may have succumbed to that, too) Finally, I decided that the only way through this was, through this. So I gave myself permission to write terrible sentences, and horrible dialogue, and my plot went down the drain and my characters almost screamed at me from the page “What are you doing to us?”

I finished my stint with a paltry 300 words (interspersed with tea and trips to the loo. Ok, and a phone call or two). It had been so painful to get onto the page that my gums may as well have been bleeding (please rinse and spit) It was godawful writing, but it was writing. Truth is, I'm not that far from my goal on my current project. So why the painful tooth grinding? It’s often the emotional discomfort of loss of confidence. I end up agonising over that horrible question that every writer asks themselves; will the writing be any good? The answer is I’ll never know until my words are out there. I just need to get my teeth into it. After I make that cup of tea.