Mixing it up
If patience is a virtue, I am not very virtuous. I need to mix things up all the time, flipping between interests, ideally before I get too bored.
When you’re writing a novel, that is probably not a great set of attributes.
I have, I think, found a few things which are helping me deal with my potentially derailing natural tendencies.
Switching between laptop and paper and pen every couple of weeks keeps it feeling different. There is no question that writing by hand is a different experience, or that I really enjoy it. But then it’s nice to get back to the laptop, which is a lot faster. But I can see the difference that comes from slowing the pace by writing by hand (and trying to keep it legible). Theoretically, I should be able to type slower as well, but it doesn’t seem to happen. So I have a binder and electronic files at the same time. I should probably scan the paper and print the files at some point…
I find it good to have items which are used only for writing. My laptop falls pretty much into that category, most of the vast number of tabs I have open at any one time have something to do with writing. And I have a stack of beautiful Rhodia pads which are the best paper I’ve found for writing on. Especially when I’m using a fountain pen (has to be a Pelikan pen – one for at home, one for when I’m away and wanting to write) that is not allowed to be used for anything else. I think it’s a bit like having somewhere only for writing. Except that I have three places, which I also vary. Like I said, easily bored. They seem to tie in with how I’m writing – upstairs with a monitor for writing on the laptop, kitchen table for pen and paper, and a small table in the sitting room for when we have someone staying upstairs and I have to move out (it has the advantage for everyone that I have to clear everything up once in a while, even if our poor exchange pupils now have to sleep surrounded by my piles of books and papers, with photos of Berlin all over the walls.
I also vary between getting up an hour earlier to write, and spending my last hour in the evening writing. Ideally not back to back, so not staying up late then getting up early the next morning. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and I can do without it. Early mornings are good because then it’s done, but staying in bed a bit longer in the morning if I write instead in the evening is also a small reward.
And I’m having to learn to move things along. Stop spending so much time in one scene and get on with it! I’m hoping that by keeping things moving at a better pace, I won’t have time to be bored. Because if the person writing it is getting bored, imagine being the reader! So maybe impatience will have its benefits as well.