Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Locked Room Policy – You’re not coming out until you’ve written something by Chris Joynson

Ah, Nanowrimo, I’ve never actually taken part in it before but I do appreciate the principle. It’s about forcing yourself to sit down and write something (even if 50,000 words is a bit excessive in my opinion), and sometimes you do need to force yourself.

Writing will hardly ever be your top priority, however much you love it. There will always be something to get in the way, be it friends, family, a full-time job or whatever tantrum the universe has decided to throw at you this week. You’ll just have to stand there and watch as your beloved book slips further and further down that list of things you have to do this week until it disappears completely.

Even if you do find the time to write, you can suddenly find that you’re just not in the mood. You’ve had a busy day, you feel completely drained and you just want to crash in front of either the TV or the Internet. If you do try to write your brain seizes up, the words won’t come and those that do manage to leak out are utter fertiliser (bargain budget fertiliser at that). It can be easy to give up and just say you’ll do it tomorrow, a tomorrow that never comes.

But you’re a writer, you’re doing this because you love the craft, because you have a story to tell, because you just get a kick out of hanging around with your characters. No one ever said it was going to be easy, and if they did you are within your rights to hit them for lying to you.

Sometimes you just have to lock yourself in a room, tie your hands to a keyboard (or pen if you prefer old school) and just write something. It could be a 100 words or 50,000, it doesn’t matter. You have to write, and keep writing. When you can’t find the words, you fight through it until they do come. It doesn’t matter if they’re terrible, you can always go back and edit them later, that’s fine, though I guarantee you that if you keep going eventually the words will start to flow much easier and you’ll be back to usual operating standards.

If you let yourself forget about your writing don’t be surprised if that brilliant idea you had ends up as a dusty light bulb somewhere within the shelf space of your mind. Just set aside a small amount of time each day, an hour or so should do it, and write what you can. Get yourself into a routine and stick to it. It will be a struggle at times, but we’re writers because we want to be, and it’s often the things we struggle with that are the most rewarding afterwards. (Also this is now nearly 500 words for my word count today, ka-ching!)

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