Honor and I went on holiday before Christmas. The plan was to relax; any writing we got done would be a bonus. And we did relax but somehow we still filled notebooks to bursting, we wrote more in a week than we’d written in the previous month.
Maybe it was because we were doing less that we wrote more. To write stories you have to make things up and to make things up you need to give your brain time and space.
Yes, I’m stating the obvious but it’s something that’s weirdly easy to forget when you’re on a deadline and you’ve got real life intruding at every point – book stuff like copy editing and marketing and, for Hon, the minor matter of settling in to Uni life.
We can’t do all our writing on holiday (although it’s in the nature of our collaboration that we’ll do a lot of it that way) but we can try and carve some still space to let our imaginations breathe. We won’t be listening to the waves crash onto a beach or watching a tiny crab scuttle across a sun-warmed path but maybe we’ll be watching a snail in the garden or the pattern the winter sun makes across a cluttered desk.
Without suggesting any deep disengagement (which would be problematic), we’ll write better if we switch off some of the incessant media chatter, the relentless bombardment with news and images, the swings in an instant from real tragedy to slapstick . It’s exhausting. And it’s hard sometimes in the hubbub to hear what the writing voice in your head is trying to say.
If you’re reading this and you write or you want to write you’ll find your own way. Maybe you’ll write best amongst noise and clatter, maybe your ideas will be triggered by any one or more of the images and stories leaping off your screens but try, just now and again, to slow and be still and see what comes.