For many writers, the only place they can work is their haven – the sun-drenched studio, the silent bolthole in the back of the house, the kitchen table early in the morning, the musty library, the study with its bookshelves. Me, I’m not bad at writing on tram or train, and cafes are my real home. Over the next couple of months, I’ll take tablet, pens, notebook, index cards, and 124 pages of reference notes, and will attempt to plot and draft Chapter 5, covering the crucial year of 1953.
Enough of chill winds. This next period will see mostly hiking but I need to jog often enough to hit the year-end target. Bring on the European summer sun!
Does obsessing about one passion over twelve months lead to a cast-iron habit? I’m not sure. I read Charles Duhigg’s wonderful book four years ago, found it interesting, but didn’t tackle it seriously. Now is the time to revisit it, in light of the Big Decade. And of course airplanes are the ideal places to dig into books.
The writer’s engine room before the real world bestirs
90 minutes on a Tuesday morning each fortnight. Three pieces of startlingly different fiction from three talented Melbourne writers. The Inner City Writers’ Workshop has a membership of some eight or nine. To join you submit a sample and the existing members are polled. People drift in and out, one year hammered by life and day jobs, another year freer to create. Like all writers, not everyone ships enough product to readily sustain writerly dreams, but my abiding joy within this critique group is the clear and obvious quality of writing.
Critique groups, I’ve seen a few, I can tell you, and inevitably, until now, either the quality or personality aberrations have led me to flee. For me, ICWW is the long haul.
In 2015 I jogged 1,053 kms, yesterday my 2016 kms reached 1,061. Call it a meaningless achievement in one sense, for I set out to run further and more often this year, so of course I’ll overtake during the year. But I whinge on the track too much too often, so tomorrow night I’ll celebrate with a Choc Top at the cinema.
Barriers, frustrations, fear, disgust, qualms . . . I simply must record a rare, and hopefully not fleeting, emotion of triumph, bliss even. After working and reworking a convoluted four-page narrative, into place it fell.
I’m working hard but . . . although the chapter’s content is settled (almost), although the words are written (mostly) . . . this construction phase is only 55% done and I could feel desperate. Why can’t I bang it out and end up with a desk like this (photo by Vadim Sherbakov on Unsplash)? Onward . . .
Actually, the method – improvised upon impulse – is cut and staple. Desperation forces me to resort to non-digital text manipulation.