It's finished, and is currently sitting in Leonie's inbox. Ah, wondrous day!
It was so tempting to stay in bed this morning, and sometimes I wonder if I'm burning out. I know that sounds dramatic, but having worked in a high stress healthcare career for almost twenty years, I think I'm qualified to identify the signs of burnout. The fact is, I've been pretty prolific over the couple of years. Not Jackie French prolific, just 250,000 words prolific. Hunting Elephants, The Gimlet Eye, the first in the Edsel Grizzler trilogy, and now Anonymity Jones, plus all the incidental stuff, articles etc. I've got several (10-ish) more projects lined up, but I also feel like I need a break.
The problem is, though, that if I'm not writing, everyone else is. And I'm aware of the collective weight of Other Stuff being written, and published, and bought. So this is why, after finishing a YA novel at 11pm last night, I'm now cracking my knuckles in preparation for something new.
The other day someone called me a 'word machine'. To which I replied, 'Yes, I churn out the words, but then a bunch of women in hair nets have to pick out the bent ones.'*
I learnt a long time ago that if I set myself a minimum amount of writing time per day, I can waste that so easily. There are so many distractions right here, contained within the 6 square metres of space that is my study, and at the end of an eight hour day, I'll have achieved very little in terms of actually writing anything. So my solution - which works very well for me, I might add - has been to set a word quota. 2,000 words a day. Minimum. Every day. And most days I achieve that, although lately I've been limiting myself to 1,000 words on weekends.
But how many bent words am I producing? I think that's an important consideration.
So, to the writing quote, this time from the British author and historian Gerald Brenan. And here's what he had to say about this:
It is by sitting down to write every morning that one becomes a writer. Those who do not do this remain amateurs.
* (No disrespect meant to any of the lovely publishers and editors with whom I work. As far as I'm aware, none of them wears a hair net.)