Is It Flowing?

So, I’ve begun on a new book. Every book is a different experience to write. The last one just poured out of me – I barely took time to breathe. But this one is different. I’ve had trouble with this one and we’re not sure of each other.

How easy they are to write does not seem to correlate in any way to how good the writing is. Some things that go down on paper easily are really not all that great and some things that are very difficult end up being very good. Harriet Tarlo, the poet and academic, once told a student who had written poor prose that ‘just flowed’ that ‘lots of things flow, dear.’ She’s right!

I’m not teaching today, but I’m also not writing all day. I’ve done a few hundred words, but now I’m going to get out in the fresh air. I want to do six loads of laundry today and line dry them. I’m going to collect my electric bicycle from the shop. And I’m helping to decorate a friend’s husband’s sixtieth birthday cake, so I must remember to put my special leaf cutting tools in my panniers when I pack up to go out. And of course, I must be back by half past three, so that I can meet my daughter’s taxi.

When I first started to write, I would sit and make certain I did a thousand words a day, if it took me ten hours. Now, I work more in harmony with myself and my story. It’s a bit like having a baby – you can’t really force it. It will come out when it’s ready. My writing sessions right now are just to tell it that I’m here, waiting. When it trusts me, it will…erm…flow.





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