makar [ˈmækər]
n (Literature / Poetry) Scot a creative artist, esp a poet
[a Scot variant of maker]

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I started my PhD two weeks ago and, of course, nothing much has changed in my life, except now I have this ticking time bomb of a deadline (albeit one that is very far away). I decided and declared that I would write 500 words every day because I've realised that writing regularly, even if it is totally crap, is the best way for me to keep my mind in the fictional world of whatever I'm working on. I started off pretty well, making up for the odd day when I didn't quite hit the word count, with a few hundred extra in my next session. Then life got crazy and it all kind of fell apart, and I didn't manage to write anything for four days. I started having horrible, self-doubting thoughts about my ability to do anything very well. But I know these thoughts are part of motherhood and of the creative process, and I'm just trying to roll with it. I think I'm probably going to aim to bang out 500 words every two days, so I don't have to exist in a perpetual state of failure! It's not a nice place to be.

I've also come to the realisation that I need either noise or music to write; the quietness of the library just doesn't cut it. I love the hustle and bustle of a cafe, so long as the conversations are a steady hum, and not too loud or interesting to distract me. Music has always been a really important part of my writing process, and is even more so now that I'm making myself sit down and write, even when I really don't feel like it. A little while ago, I read this article that proposed pairing together albums and books. I found it an intriguing idea, but one that doesn't really work for me, perhaps because I never listen to music when I read. Writing and music is a different matter entirely. When I'm working on a story or a novel, I become obsessed with a particular album or artist, and listen to them exclusively whenever I write. With my first novel, I listened to Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and Edith Piaf. Nothing else would do! My protagonist was in a very dark and desperate place and maybe these women with their complicated love lives and depth of suffering, were able to transport me into her mindset. This time, I'm still trying to figure out what gets me to that place I need to be...

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