Week 59

Notebooks I walk around with the latest gadgets in my bag and have a thousand heart attacks a minute thinking I have lost them, left them on a bus or had them nicked from the top of my bag.

But all that pales in comparison when it comes to these, my notebooks, each containing about 20,000 words of my novel.

They don't do automatic back-ups.

I can't access them from different devices.

They're no use to anyone but me.


Word count this week: 3,100 First draft: 101,712

Its own shape

All novelists write in a different way, but I always write in long hand and then do two versions of typescript on a computer. I realised when I got to the end of the long hand draft [of The Pregnant Woman] that I knew nothing about this novel when I began writing it. The process of writing a novel is getting to know more about the novel until you know everything about it. And it's been described as a kind of dreamlike state where you're letting the novel make its own shape, and you're putting into it the pleasure of creation, which is intoxicating.

- Martin Amis

Week 50

Week 50. Whoa. I've been writing this novel for almost a year.So it's not a good time to not be writing much. I haven't been writing as much as I was before Christmas and it's making me really stressed - I want to be writing, I want to finish this book before I lose any momentum or the story slips through my fingers. It's all my own fault. I've taken on a fair bit of work over Christmas and January which means I'm working every day, seven days a week. Fitting writing in is hard, especially after the Christmas break when it's difficult to get back into any saddle.

Specifically, it's looking at a screen I can't take. Working such long hours as I am at the moment means I'm looking at my screen every day, all day, and I can't face switching it on again first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I also don't want to be tired when I write. I need to be alert so I can keep my head in the current.

This wasn't the plan. The plan was to be part-time and flexible, so that I have more time to write and do so regularly.

I also gotta eat. So January is baby-needs-some-shoes month, and I'm gritting my teeth and bearing it.

I'm going to go through my old notebook and add notes into the work I've done so far, as that's not too taxing. I'll also try writing long-hand when I can. It'll make word counts hard, but hopefully it'll keep me going in one direction, ie towards the end, and keep my hand in while I get this work done.

I've wondered if I shouldn't try writing longhand since reading this article by Lee Rourke in The Guardian. My attempts so far are proof that a) the legibility of my handwriting has taken a pretty massive nosedive and b) cut and paste is a state of mind, not a function of Word. I'm so used to moving words and phrases around I do it in my own writing, squeezed into the margins and between the lines.

So I've started a new notebook and bought my uniballs. Perhaps by the time I finish this work, I'll be as fluent a handwriter as I was when I was six.

Word count this week: 1,352 Total word count: 95,028 First draft: 85,012