I often think, What am I going to write today?
It must be lovely to be a crime writer and know that you are going to sit down and continue with the main plot, a red herring and a sub-plot. Or how about a romantic novelist who will switch on her computer knowing that her hero and heroine are waiting for her together with a complete cast of characters?
Some days I wish I was a novelist. Instead I am a butterfly writer. I gave myself that label. It means that I flit from one thing to another.
A typical morning begins with me switching on the computer, staring at the screen and wondering what to write. Does that sound familiar? What I should do is decide the night before which tasks I am going to undertake the following day but the order of tasks is put off until the last minute. Why? Because of Writers’ Jam. Jam as in traffic jam. The ideas are queuing up in my head but where do I start? My ideas are like an assortment of vehicles lining up, jostling for position.
My book, a magnificent (hopefully) Rolls Royce, revs its engine loudly. Choose me. A deep honk from a sturdy family saloon sounds urgently. That’ll be the host of emails that need replies. And then there’s a chorus of tiny beeps from a medley of Minis - the short story department.
This morning I heard a tiny splutter from an apologetic little Robin Reliant. ‘Don’t forget me. I’m important too.’ Yes, you are. It’s my regular piece, Novel Ideas, for Writing Magazine and with the deadline looming I allow the little three-wheeler to manoeuvre its way to the front of the queue. It smirks up at the Rolls. ‘My turn,’ it says.
I have managed to prioritise. Novel Ideas is first today. Prioritising is something I am always trying to perfect.
We hear too much about Writers’ Block, especially as it doesn’t exist. If you think you’re blocked go and do something else. You probably only need a change of scenery, a bit of stimulation. Writers’ Jam does exist. Perhaps it isn’t mentioned because it sounds rather pompous. ‘I’ve got so many ideas I don’t know where to begin.’ Believe me, Writers’ Jam is out there and a lot of writers don’t know how to cope with it. It is too easy to sit and wonder which project to work on and maybe flit from one to another. And that’s why I’m a butterfly.