Having to balance a full time job with my writing means that I tend to wring out every available minute in the day. During the working week, I’ll come home from work and immediately switch the computer on and get some words on the page. I’ve told myself, 500 words a day is a perfectly reasonable output but I don’t listen to myself very much and have been managing over 1000 on good days. But it’s not all about the word count or sitting in front of the computer and yesterday was a good reminder of that. I spent far too long last night writing and rewriting the same paragraph until I eventually had something I was almost happy with. It was only after sleeping on it that I woke up this morning and thought…that’s what I needed to do!
That’s why I like to have a long pause between one burst of writing and the next. It gives me time to carry on the conversations my characters are having in my head or to visualise the scenes I’ve just created. It’s usually when I don’t even realise I’m thinking about the story that the best ideas pop into my head. More often than not I get my best ideas when I’m doing something mundane like shopping or driving to work and suddenly I’ll think…why didn’t she say that? Would she really do that? Wouldn’t she notice this? Wouldn’t she ask that?
Hopefully it’s that part of my editing process that makes the conversations flow more realistically and sometimes it can add a new twist to the story. I’m certainly doing that with Elle and there’s one scene I’m about to write that came to life while I was sitting in the car at the traffic lights on Aigburth Road coming home from work. Apologies to my fellow drivers for missing the light turning to green!