Sunday, November 21, 2010

The interplay of hands and mind

Writing day in, day out is hard work. Some writers can do it, are disciplined to a fault, and front up at their computer every day, or at least Monday to Friday, sit down, and type out their target number of words before feeling, quite rightly so, virtuous, and like they've achieved something for the day.

I'm not quite that regimented. I aspire to be. I always have my daily target of 1000 words to write, and some days I'll do that easily, and some, and other days I'll struggle to write one sentence, or even one word!

I find that during these struggle times, where my mind won't cooperate, my hands take over - not typing words, but making things. For me there seems to be some connection to the creative process of physically crafting something, and the writing processes in my head. The last two weeks have not been a success as far as getting words on the page, which is a shame considering I was doing NaNoWriMo in principle, but I've made a lot of stuff!

The sewing machine has been running hot - I now have my Salle Angelo fencing club cloak made - in black wool and green lining, as well as quite a few more practical items, and it has been very satisfying.

It has also been very useful, because while my hands work on something tangible, my mind works on the intangibles that have been eluding me. So as well as having made a cloak, I have now worked out the psyche behind one of my main characters in my next novel, and with that now know what he needs to personally overcome to make things happen, and thus the time line of events.

So with lots of physical projects under my belt, I'm looking forward to fronting up to my desk tomorrow morning, with my requisite tea pot, milk jug and fine bone china cup, and setting my mind to producing words.

4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Vanda - I know exactly what you mean about those days when even a sentence is a struggle. I think all writers face that. What a terrific way to let your mind work, too - creating things! I admire folks like you who can be as creative with your hands as you are with your words.

Agatha Christie said "The best time to plan a novel is when you're doing the dishes." In your case, I'm glad using the sewing machine does the job :-).

jtwebster books said...

I'll think of you tomorrow morning, with your lovely pot of tea and hope that your words flow.

I too find the best time for novel planning is when I'm busy doing something totally unrelated.

A Certain Book said...

I always find words or scenes or characters pop out at me whenever my attention isn't focused on writing, or I'm nowhere near the computer or writing den. It doesn't matter what I'm doing - driving, doing the dishes, shopping, showering ... it just flows ... Jigsaws or drawing seems to do it best.

Vanda Symon said...

Thank you, ladies. The writing process is such a many faceted thing. I like the satisfaction of making something and solving a problem at the same time!

Brought some knitting patterns yesterday...