To Live or to Write? That is the Question

I haven’t blogged in a while because I haven’t known how to blog about writing when the writing wasn’t going so well. The last thing I wanted was to drone on about how hard writing is, or to elevate my inertia to the lofty realms of writer’s block.

The truth is that, for the last year or so, I’ve pretty much insulated myself from life and kept my head down in order to write and, recently, in the last month, life has broken through. I have been out with friends. I have made a concerted effort to lose some weight.  I have taken time out to sort out boring practical things that needed sorting.

Life and writing. It’s hard not to consider them as two opposing forces.  But if I carry on writing without living a little I won’t survive as a human being, let alone a good writer.

This, at least, is how I choose to justify to myself what has been a period of diminished productivity (and a consequent absence of blogging).

But there is another reason for this little intermission in my writing programme.  About a month ago I completed the second draft of Part One (roughly half) of my novel.  Part One builds to a climax, a point of high tension and concludes with a dark revelation. It took an effort to get there. And, mentally, I was tired and needed a breather.

I suspect the reader will want a breather too. One of the things I’ve been struggling with is striking the right tone at the beginning of Part Two. There needs to be a relaxation of pace, a little breathing space, but at the same time the narrative mustn’t lose its momentum or dissipate the tension that’s been building.

So life has stepped in and diverted the conscious part of my mind while the unconscious part has been working on this problem.  Today, I think, I finally alighted on the solution. And that means it’s time to close the door again: to allow the practical things in life to get into a mess; to turn down those invitations to parties and dinners; but not, hopefully, to put back on the weight.

Wish me luck.


Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood

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5 Responses to To Live or to Write? That is the Question

  1. I’m always amazed at how my unconscious mind works through tricky plot issues without me being aware that it’s doing it. I love that moment when something that has previously seems impossible suddenly seems completely clear.

    Good luck with the start of part two Claudia!

  2. Paula says:

    Good luck indeed!

  3. Sarah says:

    Just enjoy, Claud. This is something you’ve wanted for ages. Just have a good work/write balance.

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