no more no less you try to learn the universe


Cape Town seems to have forgotten that it’s winter, so that’s great.


It also means it’s going to make the second half of Lud easier to revise because it’s the summer part of the novel (yes, my works are seasonal, that’s how I write, don’t ask me I don’t know) .


I think once this round of revisions is done I’m going to take a break and catch up on reading. I find it hard to read while I’m deep in writing a book, it messes with my sentence rhythm. I need to work in cycles.


The musers were discussing the cyclic nature of writing the other day, and I definitely go through three distinct phases.


The most active is the one where I can’t write at all. I can’t even think about writing. I need to do *stuff*. Hike, paint, cook, go to movies or concerts or house parties. ANYTHING but face a blank screen. This is the phase where I have a clean house and well-fed children and something that resembles a life.


Then comes the withdrawal. I’m still not ready to write, but I live in a kind of constant dream-state. I become totally absorbed in fictional worlds: sometimes my own, but more normally other people’s. This is where I dream about characters and watch 276 episodes of a single anime in 2 weeks. Yeah. It’s like that. (Children state: unfed, wearing whatever clothes still fit them. House state: Laundry piling up, dishes taking over every available surface.)


The last stage is still a fugue, still dream like, but now it has a new urgency. Now the characters are mine, and the words roll out unfettered, fucked-up, bent back on each other like acrobats and whores. The words get spat out so that I don’t have time to doubt them. Everywhere around me things fall apart, but I sit in the middle and write. (Children state: they have learned to feed themselves and have resigned themselves to knotted hair and old clothes. House state: What house?)


So how does writing and life work for you –  do you deal with them in stages, or do you have a more manageable way of combining the two?

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4 Replies to “no more no less you try to learn the universe”

  1. Interesting. I think understanding one’s own writing process is often difficult, but generally valuable. I don’t have that kind of extreme high and low in my cycle. I have been going through several “off” months with no writing, but I am not entirely sure why, and I did not really enjoy it. Generally I am more of a steady-state sort of person, punctuated by episodes of OhMyGodISuck. I am usually working on more than one project at a time, so that may smooth things out a bit, don’t know. (Querying book a, drafting book b, thinking about doing book c, d, or e for NaNo… until I fell of a cliff of SAD or something like that this year.)

    Lots of writing advice says to ignore the housework, the writing comes first, but I have come to accept that I simply cannot concentrate if my surroundings are a mess. No matter what kind of project I’m doing, writing or something for work or making dinner — I need to start from a tidy place or my stress levels go through the roof. Probably latent OCD.

    Good luck with your revisions!

    1. SAD sucks, I hope your “on” writing vibe comes back soon.

      I have come to accept that I simply cannot concentrate if my surroundings are a mess.

      Oh no, I am exactly the same, which really doesn’t help with my mental state because then between writing I am screaming at everyone.

      Wow, my kids are so going to need therapy. I better sell lots of books so they can go rant about me to a trained professional.

      1. Excellent idea, that selling lots of books thing. 🙂 Then you can get a housekeeper, too!

        I think I may be getting back to normal, finally. Just a few minutes ago finished a new opening scene for Fury’s Flight, a scene I started months ago. Now to transition (big weak area for me) and get into the revisions.

        1. Housekeepers freak me out, tbh. I hate people in my house.

          Ooh I feel you on transitions, they’re one of my stumbling blocks too.

          YAY on writing a new opening scene, have fun with wording. 😀

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