Week 93

Major wobble at the start of the week. By Monday lunchtime I had decided to bin the whole 35,000 words I'd written thus far as it was all rubbish, and I'd scribbled a back-of-the-fag-packet version I should have been pursuing instead. 93

Confidence in my writing expands and disintegrates with the regular irregularity of a uterine wall. Is it the moon? Is it my mood at the time? Is it booze? Is it the actual quality of what I am writing? Nothing seems to correlate.

Current complaints: it's a patchwork, a bodge-job, too complex, not so much a "ferment of ideas" as a muddle. It's obvious, too.

The latter is an interesting one: I have been writing this book, in one form or another, for almost two years. Everything about it seems obvious: the setting, certain turns of phrase that have stayed with me through the drafts, certain scenes or character responses feel right, and then the thought occurs, do they feel 'right' because I've heard them used before? Are they cliched? And after so much thinking and planning, either in the forefront of my mind, or at the back of it, a dull throb, it feels as if I am writing out a story that is finished, albeit in my head. The very act of writing it has become telling something I've 'heard' before.

The writing itself feels obvious, too. When I look back at it, they are not words over which I can cast my eyes objectively. They are words that I wrote, just now, or yesterday, or last week, so recently that I remember what I had just eaten, where I was sitting and that I thought they were good, or bad, or needed filling out, or whatever. The context is galling, distracting. I am too much in the words. I suppose this is why people say you must put work to one side for a few months before reading it back and starting the edit.

What's more, certain words stick to others. It is a constant battle to avoid using the obvious ones, but what is language if not a common currency?Curiosity is either sheer, morbid or naked. It isn't dark, or full-figured. Tears brim, prick and start but they shouldn't flood or ooze, unless there's something medically wrong. And eyes don't rock from side to side, they roll.

Who knows what cliches await me when I reread this draft. I pushed on this week, despite wanting to throw the whole lot in a bin.

A couple of steps away from my computer and a few well-placed calls made me think it wasn't completely unsalvageable, then I read this post about the so-called '30,000-word doldrums' (I was at that point, approximately), and by Tuesday I was back to the grindstone, doing whatever it is people do to grindstones, which apparently involves putting their noses to it, which I can't imagine because I'm not entirely sure what a 'grindstone' is anyway.

Okay, I looked it up. It's one of these. Let's carry on shall we.

Word count this week: 12,016 Second draft: 45,925 First draft: 128,661