Every night of my life I’ve always read, so, I thought, instead of reading – and as I wanted to write a novel – I would simply lift a lap top and start typing. Easy peasy.
Okay, maybe not so simple.
It didn’t exactly work out how I’d planned, as after I’d finished putting my thoughts into the computer, I would then find myself picking up a book and reading it anyway (it’s hard to break the habit of a lifetime) but then something changed.
The more you actually write, the more you notice the styles of writing that you are reading and you find yourself looking at how gestures are phrased, how punctuation is used, how some writers use quotation marks while others use apostrophes to indicate speech. All the different styles of writing and phrasing suddenly jump off the page at you and you notice things you never noticed before.
You/I shouldn’t feel too guilty about this as although your brain takes it all in – and it’s a fact that the more reading you do, the better your writing becomes – your will find yourself thinking, I must remember that phrase (or something similar) to use in my book.
As I lay there, reading, I started taking notes, then I moved on to a dictation machine (which really annoys your partner). The next day, I would transcribe everything onto a computer for future use, as there is no way I’m going to remember it all. The good news is that all this can only improve (fingers crossed) your own writing.
I don’t like doing it, but sometimes I have actually folded the pages down and highlighted the relevant parts of the book with a highlighter pen. I hate defacing books as I usually give them to charity, but hey, it’s works, and after all and doesn’t really detract from the book, and it gives the next reader something to think about.
Still not that simple.
I’m self employed so I don’t have to answer to a boss until I come home, but this blog is being typed while I’m in work. So although the initial plan of just writing when I went to bed, doesn’t allow for the fact that when the writing bug takes over, be prepared to just take the time to put pen to paper, fingers to typewriter or keyboard, dictate it or telephone your phone and leave a message that you can listen to later. The secret is to get it out of your head and onto/into something that you can get it from later. You can still edit your musings when you eventually get to bed anyway.
The first downside of all this is that your bedside table turns into a mini office with a laptop, highlighter pens, dictation machines, notebooks, etc. Not too much of a problem if you use drawers.
The other downside is that when you eventually turn off the light to get to sleep, you’re still thinking about all the things you could include in your book, which inevitably means turning on the light, taking notes, dictating or when things get really bad/good, opening up the laptop again and writing.
Maybe it’s time to get a separate bedroom? Just kidding.