Unwise writer, week 11: I hate a hiatus

God, it’s hard to get back back into the swing of things after a holiday, isn’t it? 2016 is 12 days old, and we’ve already lost one of our greatest musical icons, who has sadly left us to return to his own planet. And what am I doing? Trying to get motivated to return to my pre-Christmas writing project.

The break I took from writing over the Christmas holiday was necessary and great – I found the time to read several wonderful, inspiring books that I really, really want to review at some point:

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but it was a bit more extended than I intended. Now I’m faced with the daunting task of picking up where I left off. And I didn’t stop at a good point.

On that note, I have an extremely important piece of advice for fellow aspiring novelists, recently gleaned from personal experience: never stop JUST BEFORE finishing your first draft.

N.E.V.E.R.

Experienced writers talk about how bad a first draft always is, how you just have to go easy on yourself and not think of it as anything more than raw material you can carve away at and shape. They also say you shouldn’t start reading what you’ve written until you’ve finished that first draft as you’ll despair of your rubbishness. However, because I’ve had several weeks away from the work, I have to read what I’ve written so far in order to refresh my memory and figure out where the gaps are in order to get to the end of that first draft. Needless to say, I despair of my rubbishness.

As a result, I’m finding it very difficult to jump back in, and keep watching David Bowie videos on YouTube instead. On my travels through Tubeland, I found this amazing clip where a young Bowie describes his songwriting process. I’m not actually sure what to make of it:

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something almost spooflike about this (no offence to Bowie fans, I was just surprised at his method) – the random choosing of phrases pasted together to create classic songs that resonate with entire generations? But if nothing else, it does at least demonstrate that even the amazing Bowie battled with words that had to be corralled together to make some kind of satisfying whole.

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