Thinking a Novel

I love writing, but I don’t get nearly enough time.  Even with my increasingly long lists and lots of multi tasking, it ends up being early evening before I can get out my laptop and get down to writing.  Sometimes, even then, I’m too tired to construct coherent sentences.  There are days where I don’t get round to writing a single word, and on these days I am grumpy and irritable and generally not very nice.  It is my fantasy, to escape somewhere, alone, except for my notebook and pen (or laptop, but that doesn’t fit with the pretty little image in my head). In the real world, though, I’m often in a sulk because I’m not writing.  Sometimes, it feels like I’ll never realise my writing dreams as I disappear under a mountain of laundry and toys.

The other day,  I was ironing or chopping veg or some other menial, dull task when my mind wandered to my WIP. I’ve been struggling with it for months, something wasn’t right, but I had no idea what. After putting so much time and effort into it during NaNo last year, I wasn’t going to give up, but it had stopped being fun to write.  I couldn’t see it becoming anything half-decent, even with all the editing in the world.

Anyway, I started thinking about my characters, and what was happening. I turned plots around in my head, imagined dialogue and ran through problems and by the time I was done, I had (hopefully) cured my ailing story. Easy, no?

I spend a lot of time doing boring, but necessary things. Cooking and cleaning needs to be done, but it’s hardly fascinating. Trips to the soft-play centre or park are great fun for the toddler, but a bit boring for me. Without even knowing it, I use this time working on my writing.

Whilst shopping I’ll watch other people, creating backstories and intriguing lives for them. Last week, as the toddler took an age to finish his lunch in a cafe, I overheard an entire conversation, which is working its way into my WIP. You know what they say, truth is stranger than fiction, and this conversation was strange.

Once I get an idea, I ‘write’ it in my head. While I mop the floors, I’ll compose entire chunks of dialogue.  I scribble these down in my notebook, (or the back of receipts/cornflake boxes…) then the story is all there when I finally get down to writing.  I mull over snippets of ideas until they’re ready to be turned into something bigger.

All this work, without even realising it. I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this, but the realisation that I can work on my stories while doing other things makes me slightly easier to know.  Maybe.

2 thoughts on “Thinking a Novel

  1. Glad you’ve stumbled across that! The mind just LOVES to be occupied, and since menial chores aren’t particularly challenging, it’ll turn to the next big challenge…

    Don’t you find yourself wondering what non-writers think about when they’re hoovering?

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