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Words don’t come easy.

Writing.ie | Member Blog

Steve Cummins

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Okay, Time to get to work. 2,000 words today, that’s the target. Mind you it’s 2,000 words every day. 2000 words is always the target. You didn’t make half that yesterday but you managed 2,600 the day before so you’re practically breaking even. All you need to do is make your target today; you might even pass it again. That would be sweet.
Don’t go too far past it though. Stop writing when you know exactly what’s going to happen next. If it was good enough for Hemingway it’s certainly good enough for you.
Perhaps you should develop a drinking problem? That seemed to work for Hemingway too. But you really don’t like the feeling of being drunk that much and remember the last time you tried to write with a force ten hangover? You scrolled down the screen and thought you were falling? Do you remember what happened next? It doesn’t matter; you weren’t using that laptop bag anyway.
Enough of this lollygagging. (That’s a great word. You should go and look it up. One sec. Well fancy that. It’s an American term originating in the 1860’s. It’s also known as lallygagging and can also mean to kiss and smooch. Who knew?)  Time to get down to work. 2,000 little words and you can draw a line under another productive day.
Is that wasp drunk? They’re apparently insanely aggressive at this time of year. They get drunk eating fallen apples that have fermented or something. You’d better keep an eye on him. You know what? It’s probably safer if you take a break and leave the wasp to his own devices. It’s getting colder and they’re dying off. He’ll be dead soon. You’ll work twice as hard when you come back.
Have you noticed something about me yet?
I think it’s fairly obvious that some days I have the attention span of an amnesiac goldfish with Attention Deficit Disorder. Today is very much one of those days.
Sometimes when I write my head goes down (I have to look at the keyboard when I type, self-taught, I only use three fingers and one thumb) and the words just flow out of me. Not always good words, not always the right words but a steady stream of them. The next thing you know I look up; a great deal of time has passed and my word count surprises and delights me. Those are the good days.
Who am I kidding? Those are the great days. I get up from the kitchen table (I always write there, it’s the only place in the house that’s high enough to type on while sitting comfortably) dazed and drained but content. Spent, but slightly spacey is the best way I can describe it. Then I wander around feeling relaxed, happy and like an author.
Other days I sit down and start to write and I remember that thing I was going to do. So I sit and feel bad about not doing it but excuse myself because I have to write and that’s more important. Then something else jumps into my mind or I see something out the window or I suddenly think that a cup of tea will help me focus. The next thing I know, hours have passed and the screen has only a few disjointed, destined to be deleted, sentences lying there flat and forlorn.
Those are the bad days. I get up from the kitchen table, now almost covered in half-empty tea mugs, dazed and feeling drained but unhappy. Spent but with a faint sense of unease. Then I wander around questioning why I dare to call myself an author.
As of yesterday I am 70,000 words, good words I think, into my first novel. I’m guessing that I’m roughly half way there. I’ve given myself until Christmas to complete the first draft so that I can relax and wait for Santa, not thinking about the rewrite until the New Year when I can look at it with fresh and hopefully unbiased eyes. Some days that deadline is so attainable I imagine taking the entire month of December off. Other days I can’t see me limping over the finish line until July.
Now for the good news, hopeful news anyway. I haven’t come up with a cure for these bad days but I have come up with a treatment. It’s probably one writers have been using for years but as with most things that help your writing, you have to come to them yourself.
My cure for those days when I sit down and can’t write is… I write. I just don’t write what I’m supposed to be writing. I’ll write something, anything, just to keep me feeling like a writer. I’m writing this blog because for some reason none of my characters had anything to say today. They seemed to want to stay exactly where I left them yesterday. I’m writing this so that when I go to write tomorrow I’ll feel like a writer and hopefully my characters will feel like I’m one too.
Now all I have to do is stay away from drunken wasps.

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