This morning, as I wandered home from school drop-off, a scene came into my head. ‘A-ha!’ I thought. ‘Here we go.’
The scene is for book three of my Ambeth series, Hills and Valleys. It came to me complete, and was just the scene I was looking for. Hills and Valleys is already written, as I’ve mentioned, but I’m now starting on the structural edit. So that means the new threads I added into books one and two need to be drawn up and woven into this story.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’d dropped into a bit of a writing lull. This happens after I publish a book, all the editing and rewrites and formatting and fingernail-biting making a break from the keyboard necessary. Plus my brain sort of stops giving me ideas for a few days.
So it was nice to take a trip back into Ambeth this morning. I went home and typed up the scene and it reads well, so far. It will need some work, maybe expanding a little, but I’m happy with it and the direction it is taking my character.
Outside my kitchen window is a large rosemary bush. For some time now, an orb-weaver spider has made it his (or her) home, stringing a large web between the bush and the nearby wall. We’ve all grown quite fond of this spider, greeting it as we come into the kitchen, taking an interest in its doings. For it is a hard worker. Each day, it seems, the intricate web is dismantled, rolled into a ball and discarded. Then another web, just as large and intricate, is woven in its place. Yesterday, it hung heavy with raindrops, like a crystal garland. Today’s web is tight, fresh and new, ready to catch lunch, or dinner, after a hard morning’s work. It perseveres, this little spider, because there is no other way. If it wants to eat, it must spin.
And this is a little lesson for me. To persevere with this writing and publishing game, even though sometimes it can be daunting. For it is what I want to do. If I want to be read, I must write. And so like the spider I spin each day, writing stories and blogs, making connections, promoting my work in increments, a fresh start each morning. And I’ve had some wonderful surprises along the way, made new friends, had new opportunities. And I feel very lucky to be on this journey.
Well, from the looks of this post it seems my Pantser writer brain is back in action! Watch this space…
I’ve been watching spiders outside my son’s door… same pattern, every day a perfect web… and I should get back to proofing….
You’re in the web too, I see. Hope it’s all going well 🙂
Crosseyed 😉 I may need a break…
It really is the pits, isn’t it?
I’m focusing on the end result… it’s about all I can see beyond dancing commas right now 🙂
Ah yes, the punctuation dance. Not quite the same as the Giant’s Dance. 😉 Good luck, and let me know if I can do anything once the end result is here 🙂
Thanks, Helen… soon as I finish with this one there is another waiting to proof..*wilts quietly*….
Pass the coffee and the matchsticks… 😉
Now that’s a visual image…
A fairly accurate one too 🙂
I admire how you take a lesson from that. I am a pantser too, and dont you quickly doubt yourself when you have a lull? I always think, well that’s it, I’ll never write again! I just dont have it in me! Haha! I’m not very prolific like most other writers I know.
Thanks Ali. I think that might be why I write so much, that I’m scared one day it will all dry up and I won’t have any more stories. Self doubt is a terrible thing, isn’t it? I deal with it daily.
I’m in a lull at the moment, too, and it’s already been a couple of weeks. I’ve encountered it before, many times, and each time the writing mojo returns, but as Ali says, right now at this time, the self-doubt has crept in. I don’t know how you stay as productive as you do, Helen—I suspect I’d need more than a few days off once I finished a book!
Thanks Louise. I was just saying (writing) to Ali that I think one of the reasons I write so much is that I’m scared it will all dry up one day and I won’t have any more stories. And I love telling stories :-). The other reason is that Ambeth was an idea I’d had fermenting for a few years, then one day I sat down to write it and the story just bubbled out of me (gosh, that’s an awful metaphor). A Thousand Rooms was the same – but I don’t know if it will be the case with the other books I have kicking around in my head, just sketched outlines at the moment. The self doubt is awful – I deal with it all the time. I struggled with it as I finished the edit for No Quarter and it’s taken me a little while to get on top of it. And the number of times I’ve been rejected, both for my books and my short stories! Yet everyone who has read Oak and Mist seems to have enjoyed it. A wise friend said to me recently ‘I write for those who want to read.’ And so that’s what I’m doing.At least we know, when we hit these lulls, that the mojo returns – otherwise I think it would be even more scary.
This is not the industry for thin skins, that’s for sure. It’s a real game of contrasts: the writing process is fun (usually!) and affirming, yet rejection is the opposite, and makes us doubt ourselves and our work. I find myself swinging from confidence to self-doubt and back again, and it can be hard to keep the boat on an even keel!
It’s very tough! No wonder there’s the stereotype of writers turning to drink – it’s amazing more of us don’t, to be honest. It’s certainly a tough game to be in, and you really have to believe in yourself, difficult at the best of times.
Pingback: Up And Down | Journey To Ambeth