Thursday 16th February 2017
I think you can tell when I’ve not written anything the day before as I’m always in a bad mood.
Some people love to have written, but only writers love to write. It took me a long time to realise that the feeling you get when everything feels like it’s not working on the page, when words come like treacle… that’s writing. That’s the hard graft. That’s the weights you are trying to lift.
When I realised that, things became a lot easier. I still go through tough patches. Last year I really felt like I was trying to level up massively and didn’t feel like I was up to the task at hand. I’d gone from wanting to get an agent to ending up with someone all my industry friends raised eyebrows in astonishment at the mention. I felt there had been a mistake and last year was all about accepting my progress and resetting my goals.
But this year… just like going to the gym, that hard work feels like progress. Those days when a scene doesn’t work and you have to stress and fiddle and work it out… that’s writing to me. That’s lifting the weights.
So on days I don’t get any work done, I feel annoyed. I’m a “shoot for the stars and hit the moon guy” (although that’s bullshit because I think if you are realistic about the amount of work it takes to shoot for the stars, even if you don’t hit them you’ll come damn close) and I know that the one thing I have over every other fantasy writer is that I’ll outwork them. I may not be the most talented or the most experienced, but I’ll put in the work. So when I have a day where circumstances mean I don’t, I get real pissy with myself.
But today my mood changed when on the walk back from town inspiration struck. I love it that ideas can come out of nowhere. I’ve got a major action scene coming up
When I was about 9 years old I was told that “you can’t write car chases”. They meant that action scenes are a visual medium and so suited to film not books. Perhaps it says a lot when the 9 year old me’s reaction was “well I can” and then proceeded to write a story with a massive car chase. Fast forward more than 30 years and The Shade Knight books have car chases… except they are with horses. As much as I want everyone to love the final action sequence at the end of Black as Knight, I wrote that scene for me. Despite revising heavily it gives me goosebumps every time I read it.
And so with Book 2 I want another big horse-related action scene and I’ve had a rough idea for one coming up in a couple of chapters. But today, it came together in my head… and it’s insane. I love it. It’s kinda Mad Max Fury Road but with horses.
So my annoyance at not doing any writing has been replaced with excitement and a need to get to that scene ASAP (I write sequentially).
In other news, the day job continues to be busy although I didn’t feel I made a lot of progress. The amount of mental energy it’s taking is still tiring me out.
However my physical energy seems to be going up. At the gym this evening, I got back to 121kg deadlifts for a couple of sets of 6 reps, my 60kg bench seemed easier and even the chin ups seemed better than last week. Heck even sets of 8x press-ups and a 24kg kettlebell swing seemed easy. I feel my strength has taken a massive step up in the last couple of weeks. It might be because I’ve been working on higher reps at lower weights for a number of weeks, or because I’ve been calming down on the cross-trainer by way of a warm up. Whatever it is, I’m feeling so good at the gym I wore a sleeveless basketball top (which I’ve always felt self-conscious about wearing). I might not have huge guns but I’m noticing that the weights I’m doing are a touch higher than what all but the seriously muscled are doing.
I never thought I’d get to the stage where I loved the gym but I come away feeling good about myself.
Unlike yesterday, I did get some writing done. Funnily enough, I was another action scene. This is a fight between two allied characters from the first book so I imagined it being a clip in a movie trailer that would have viewers going “why are X and Y fighting”. Bizarrely, that gave me the inspiration to really ramp up the action.
For a first draft it’s a pretty solid action scene, it’ll be even better when I come to revise it in the future.
You can’t write car chases? My arse!
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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