Friday, 4 May 2012

Don't let the grass grow...

I remember when all this was fields...
No, the picture is not our garden, but only because Anne wouldn't let it (or rather, let me let it) get to that stage. It's actually a small walled field up above the coast. Today it's filled with campion, but if you'd visited back in February, as we did, you'd have seen a gorgeous swathe of daffodils.

Timing is everything, and everything has its moment. Often we don't realise that until the moment has passed. The thing we meant to say in anger or in affection, that amazing piece of dialogue we meant to write down just as soon as we'd had that next sip of coffee. Each moment is precious because that exact moment will never return.

The magical first draft of a novel can be a little like those daffodils. Suddenly, after a pleasant hike, there it is - beaming at you. A field of campion, perhaps, is more like the subsequent edits. There's beauty there too, but you have to look harder for it. And it can be darn congested in there! No point wishing you were back in the time of daffodils - things have moved on and you're no longer the same writer anyway.

With all that in mind, it's crucial to seize the day and write when inspiration grabs you (and sometimes even more important to do so when it doesn't). How many notebooks lie at the back of a drawer, gathering dust, only to see the light of day at a time when 'man loses train ticket - chance encounter' no longer triggers that prize-winning story you were sure you were going to write?

So, as spring's showing of colour slowly but surely gives way to summer's pageant, let me ask you:


  • What stories have you been meaning to write?
  • How many neglected notebooks are eager for your attention?
  • What have you been putting off that would help your writing?
  • What would you like to look back upon and see that you've completed? (An old coaching trick!)
Because, before you know it, that field will be full of foxgloves and we'll all be wondering where the time went!




7 comments:

Fionnuala said...

Oh GAAAAWD! GUILTY on all charges I'm afraid. Er, notebooks gathering dust, tick. Been definitely putting off walking because of the rain and walking always opens up my writing pores, so again, tick that one. And as for reading old things - my problem is something is never finished in my eyes. I always feel it can be improved... Oh dear, It seems I have a bit of work to do before the Summer.

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Snap, Fi. Life is just too horribly chaotic to focus. This is a very timely post, Derek - I keep focussing (necessarily in some cases) at what needs attention right now, but can feel my inner creative shrivelling up from lack of sun and water. And thanks for reminding me about walking, Fi - I'm going out for one now and sod the rest.
Susiex

Gillian McDade said...

I too need better weather! I've been putting off Chapter Two of my WIP because it's horribly complicated and deep. I need to really focus on it! I'm not sure my brain is high brow enough though!

Lindsay said...

What a lovely analogy - I love the way my garden changes (with very little help from me I might add)between spring and summer so I'll think of your advice as I watch the changes and let them inspire me to get writing!

Derek said...

For me, I think, it comes down to the regular realisation that our time and concentration are finite, and we can easily 'lose the moment' by seeking comfort or stimulus when there is writing to be done!

Caroline Green said...

Welcome Derek!

Kath said...

Hey Derek, lovely to see you here on Strictly and yes, a timely post for me too. The past five weeks have flown by with not enough to show for them...