Monday, January 19, 2009

The energy it takes

I hadn't realised until I didn't have any how much energy it actually takes to write fiction. I hadn't noticed until I got to a point where I found it hard to focus on anything for more than a few minutes, how much the writing process requires sharp focus. I always feel energised after being in that writing zone, that place where it's all flowing. It doesn't feel like I am using up energy, it feels as though I am creating energy. But this process obviously needs fully-charged batteries. And mine are definitely depleted!

Or it may be that I should force myself to write, that this might actually have a positive effect. I don't know. It doesn't feel like that. I want to write, but feel an inertia I can't get past right now. I am trying to listen to the signs my body is giving me. I will wait a little bit. See what happens.

In the meantime, I have been critiquing the stories of my students on the workshop I have just begun co-teaching, but sadly won't be able to take the session I was supposed to lead tonight, since I can't actually leave the house. I have sent my comments to my co-teacher for him to read out. I do hope they prove useful. I was really looking forward to it, but it is in another city, a long drive, as well as requiring me to focus for two hours, as well as it being my first time. All too much. My next workshop is in a month. Let's hope I'll make that one.

The good news is that after almost four weeks, The White Road and Other Stories is now back in stock in the UK! Whee! I don't imagine I will be reliving all that chasing-the-clock-radio-up-the-bestseller-list fun and games again, that was then, and now I need things a little calmer. But it's nice to know that there are copies, and with a quote from the lovely New Scientist review on the front, in case anyone wants to get one.

The other good stuff is that in the past few weeks two literary magazines have asked me to submit, coming hot on the heels of Smokelong. Three solicitations is very nice. I know that being solicited certainly doesn't guarantee publication, nothing ever guarantees publication (except good Scotch, perhaps?), but for me this is a milestone, this tells me there has been a shift. Is it because of the book? I don't know. Maybe it's more to do with the book promotion than the book itself, I've spent a lot of time spreading the word and getting my name out and about. Well, I can't second-guess, I am just pleased about this, especially since one of the lit mags, a US publication, I hadn't heard of but really like the sound of, and the other is a UK mag I had submitted to unsuccessfully in the past. Will keep you updated!


SueG said...

2 things, kiddo. 1st: I am finding that I can do lots more work...admin stuff, CurvingRoad stuff, and I've even written a couple of poems. But I can't write fiction yet. Even the idea exhausts me. Funny, eh? It clearly takes something different out of me, and maybe out of you, too. But maybe we just have to listen to our bodies and wait it out...
and 2nd: to be asked to submit something? Are you kidding? That is so cool I can't even imagine! Congrats!!!

annie clarkson said...

How wonderful being solicited for work. That's great...

Another thing, it's my belief there are many different stages of writing. Thinking is one of them. Resting is another. Collecting ideas is another. Then writing. And editing. There may be other stages, it's not a brilliantly thought out theory.

So maybe you are writing, just in one of the other stages.

Like farming. We need fallow periods.

Tania Hershman said...

Sue - that's exactly how I feel: "the idea exhausts me". Yup. Good to hear that it's not just me. I am glad you can do other things though, I was even thinking I could contemplate a poem, maybe. I am a bit nervous, yes we do have to wait. We will know when the time is right. I am contemplating going to an afternoon film today, I always find sitting in dark room with strangers comforting, maybe it will help.

Annie - thanks, it is exciting. And yes, resting. Your theory sounds right to me. I am lying fallow, I like to be compared to a field!

pierre l said...

My copy of the re-printed book arrived today (ordered direct from Salt on Monday evening -- fabulous service). Unfortunately, that doesn't help your Amazon rating, but you can't have everything.

It is indeed great to have the good words from the New Scientist in the front.

Well done, and I hope you will sell lots more copies.

Sarah Hilary said...

Congratulations on the solicitations, Tania. And yes, exhausting, this writing lark.