Sometimes Writing Stinks

Research is fun. You have an idea and you think ‘this is going to be the most fantastic film ever in the history of the whole universe!!!’ And you go on a journey and explore a world that interests you and people are extraordinarily generous with their time and keen to explain themselves and you come back laden with tiny notebooks full of scribbled conversations, ideas you’ve had in the middle of the night and a Plan. And you sit. Sit. Sit. Sit. Aaaaaargh.

And there are times when the duende deigns to make an appearance. And then your characters spring to life and people talk to each other and do surprising things and links form in your mind and it’s hard to keep up.  But not always. Sometimes not for months. I have a sort of superstition about this horrible, long, bobbly, yellow jumper I have to wear. And the worse things go, the more I have to wear it. And I can’t wash it. So then I stink. I’m stuck and I stink. Its three o clock in the afternoon. I’ve had breakfast. Twice. And lunch. And snacks. And made busy and important phone calls. And emails. And rewritten the same sentence a few times. And wondered about making a minor character the long lost father of ...oh God. The doorbell rings. I answer it hoping that the smelly jumper will make it look less as though I’m still in my pyjamas. I try and pretend that I’m not very well. ‘I’m not very well’, I mumble feebly. But the courier isn’t interested. He just wants me to sign for the parcel so he can get away from the Smell. I’m hoping he thinks the smell might be connected to me not being very well. Really I know he’s not interested in me at all. But I still imagine him going straight down the pub. Hah hah. Mad woman opened door in a dirty jumper pretending to be sick. Obviously she’d only just got out of bed! Hah hah hah.

Obviously I am going mad. If I’m worried about what people think I should just go ahead and Brush my Teeth. Another fifteen minutes gone. People phone and ask me to do things. But I feel too guilty. I have to work. I can’t work. I must stay in and sit here some more.

Sometimes going for a walk helps.

Penny Woolcock