What are you waiting for - your luck to change, your 'man' to come as in today's clip (when you think of your Muse is it a he or a she)? Maybe you're working through one of those spells we all hit occasionally when writing your blog or book seems impossible. 'The whole process of writing is an endless process of doubt' Hanif Kureishi said in an interview a couple of years ago. Do you know how he feels? I do - when you write you put yourself on the line time and time again. Can I finish this book? Can I get an agent? Will anyone want to publish this? If it's published will anyone want to read it? Then if you are successful there is the ever present 'Can I do it all again'?
Maybe all writers are gamblers. We take a chance when all the people who 'have a book in them' but never pick up a pen don't. We risk our time, hard work, creativity, income (and if you're unlucky health and sanity). Why? Blogging over the last year has given me a chance to reflect on this and the only answer I came up with was 'because I love it and I have to'. The proof copies of WKDN are on their way from Blurb - editing down a few of the most popular prompts and posts into a book has been challenging. Moving from multimedia stream of consciousness to plain text makes you aware of every word. No bells and whistles, no images. It felt like each word mattered more - yes, the book is for charity, and yes if it only sells a few copies that will be pretty good for POD, but I wanted it to be the best it could be - it's a workbook format so unlike the blog you can scribble away to your heart's content and I hope a few of you will have fun with it once it's launched.
Compare this to publishing WKDN on Kindle this week. A few clicks setting up the RSS and it was done. For $1.99 (70% of which goes to Amazon ...) any Kindle fans can now get the blog that way. Just as well the blog is written for love not money :) but anything to make it more accessible to people who have adopted e-books. Unlike me. One of the things I am enjoying most about being at the start of writing a new book is the excuse to read. Hours spent legitimately with my nose buried in a book. Famously someone once said that all financial rewards with writing are backpay ('the advance is really a retrospective') but I've remembered this week why I took a chance and started writing. The real reward is the writing itself, reading, researching - when it's going well it is like a run of luck, every word is gold.
TODAY'S PROMPT: What's your attitude to luck? Is it pure chance or is it sheer hard work and keeping an eye out for an opportunity? Do you think you make your own luck as a writer or is there too much beyond your control? Are you a gambler in life? Lottery tickets, casinos, tossing a coin - all are great creative devices for kicking a story off in an unexpected direction. Wasn't there even a book called 'The Dice Man' where the character's life depended on the throw of a dice?
When the words are flowing well it really does feel like a lucky streak but there's the flip side, the times when you are down on your luck, the words disappear, plots shrivel and you wind up wondering how to dig yourself out. I've used a couple of techniques to get through bad patches you might want to try if you're stuck at the moment - you could try just writing on, work through it towards a point in the story you know it will take off again. When you edit the draft perhaps that section won't be as bad as you thought. Alternatively if you are really stuck and can't write another word, a brutal but effective solution is to work back in the story to a point you were happy with and delete everything that came after it. Start again from that place. Sometimes we all take a wrong turn (in life and literature), and we need to take a chance on starting over again.
Hope everyone taking part in the six week challenge has had a good few days - let's check in in the comments.