I think all authors have a favourite writing spot or two. One of mine is the café at the gym. I go for an early swim, then grab a coffee, crack open the laptop and away I go. The comings and going of other members, the background beat of the music - it's all good. It's an environment I find I can happily write in.
Except recently I couldn't.
It was painful. I knew what I wanted to say, as I typed, deleted, then typed again, but somehow the words weren't quite the right ones. In the end I gave it up as a bad job, fretting and anxious about a wasted morning. Because I was a hair's breadth away from finishing the first draft of my second novel. The ending was just out of reach. The more I tried to grasp it, the more it felt as if it were being pulled away from me. I'll be honest, this led to a mild spot of panic. The ending of the book had been eluding me. I kind of knew what the ending was, where I wanted my protagonists to be, but it was the detail that wouldn't come into focus. The thing was, a couple of days later I was going on holiday, and I'd put a lot of pressure on myself to get the first draft done before I jetted off. It didn't matter that it would be clunky, ugly, full of stuff that had no right being there, I just wanted to board that plane knowing that draft one was done and dusted.
Fast forward a couple of days. I'd printed off the MS and taken it with me, determined to finish that damned first draft, but try as I might the words still didn't come. In the end I conceded defeat. I put the by now dog-eared papers back in the folder and carried on laying in the sun, hoping my freckles would join up enough to give me some semblance of a tan. They sort of did.
The last night of the holiday found myself and Mr R in a jazz bar on the island of Mykonos. The singer was a very talented American lady called Coco L'Orange (look her up on FB). The bar was dark and cosy and it was even a bit smoky (not sure it was supposed to have been, but still, this was Greece). As I listened, and joined the rest of the crowd in singing along, I let my mind wander and take off in any direction it fancied. And that's when it came to me. At the end of my book my protagonists, who had been through so much angst, would find themselves swaying to the sultry sounds of a seductive songstress (couldn't resist all that sibilance. Sorry). Thing is, I'd let my mind relax and in so doing it had stopped resisting my efforts to find that elusive ending. Like my body, my mind needed a holiday, too. That was a valuable lesson learned, and I've got more thoughts on this subject, but they're for another post.
Until next time.
A E Ryecart
This is my blog, where I'll keep you posted on the latest happenings, updates on my writing, previews and news.