Not that I have ever committed to any frequency on here, but the absence does reflect a similar lack of finger-to-keyboard when it comes to other writing, and most acutely the sequel to Up The Creek Without a Mullet which is my primary project at the moment.
For some months now I’ve been struggling with it. Some reasons for this are due to the busyness of life of late, but others are more specific to the process – a mixture of scant notes in places (the trips I am writing about were before the book was a realistic idea), poor mental recollection, some less than exciting parts of the trip that I am struggling to make interesting while keeping authentic, and not a little general blockage in the creativity department. All these factors combined on one particular part of the story that has led me to pretty much grind to a halt.
Not having the oomph to write has never particularly concerned me before, mind you. I’ve always reckoned that if you can’t write, don’t – better to say nothing than to force something out that isn’t coming naturally. If what you’re writing isn’t flowing, then go write something else. And given time either the urgency of the deadline, the guilt of laziness (yes, it does happen) or a spark of creativity will get things going again. It’s just a matter of time. However, this spell of inactivity has been really quite a while, and diversionary tactics – such as picking up some other threads of travel writing I’ve been committing myself to, or putting thought into my forthcoming events – haven’t been productive. Nor do I think I’ve had the wrong music to write to: I nearly always work well to something like the blurry, gently evocative Boards of Canada or Ulrich Schnauss, where not just tracks and albums but entire discographies merge into one hypnotic background chill.
Thankfully, though, I’ve been putting metaphorical quill to parchment a lot this past weekend, and have begun to make some real progress on the second book. I can’t quite put my finger on what has motivated me, as I haven’t had any particular lightbulb moments or changed the approach I’ve taken. However, there’s a chance it might be the good weather we’ve been having lately – the sort of weather it would be perfect to get out walking or cycling in, but from which I can very easily be distracted from making the most of, even by the prospect of writing. Mind you, we did get out last weekend for a lovely walk at Glenfeshie (see the photo above) – to me a previously unknown part of the world, but a place a relatively short drive from Inverness. The joys of living in the Highlands.
Of course, I may not be fully out of the woods yet. Perhaps in a day or two I’ll have ground to another halt. Hopefully not, though. It’s about momentum, I find. Build up through the gears, build up a head of steam, and you’ll get there.