I’m still “in the zone.” Yesterday was the best example in this recent “burst” of creativity. I got through an entire chapter, start to finish, and added several other pages here and there.
With that, I’ve got almost 25,000 words now. Parts (of this in-progress third novel) are starting to read much more like a coherent manuscript and not nearly so much as a disjointed series of episodes in and among the outline.
As my uncle wrote me the other day, “Just keep going.” Indeed, I intend to do so. And I love days of accomplishment like that.
I’ve had various jobs over the years in academia and in business. I’ve never been especially “fragile.” I’ve always been confident about my skills and what I bring to the table.
But throw that out the window the instant you take up something creative, such as fiction writing. No matter what you’ve done before, what degrees you have, and what you may have accomplished in other life realms, suddenly you’re returned to about age 14. Others’ approval matters to you a lot more.
….Speaking to French radio station Europe 1 in an interview … Madonna said “antisemitism is at an all-time high” in France and elsewhere in Europe, and likened the atmosphere to the period when German fascism was on the ascent.
“We’re living in crazy times,” the 56-year-old singer said, calling the situation “scary,”….
….“It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form – artistic expression of freedom,” Madonna said. “Now that’s completely gone.
“France was once a country that accepted people of colour, and was a place artists escaped to, whether it was Josephine Baker or Charlie Parker.”….
That commentary has unsurprisingly attracted attention in France. If you click on the picture below, or here, it will take you to the interview. Her words are translated into French, but one can hear her speaking English:
Obviously she has read and heard various things over the years, and knows just enough “dinner party” banter to sound informed. Listening to her throughout her career one has never been able to suppress a feeling that she is the proverbial “mile wide and an inch deep.” You never quite believe she knows nearly as much as she appears to position herself as knowing.
My wife received an email yesterday from a former neighbo(u)r of ours. She’s flying to the Canary Islands today. She and her husband are selling a holiday flat they’ve owned there for several decades.
In the message she explained to Mrs. Nello that she’s taking Frontiers (the paperback) along. (She doesn’t do Kindle.) She wrote she hadn’t read it yet and is looking forward to it for the airport wait and plane journey. She wanted Mrs. Nello to let me know.
I noted the other day that I felt I had been “in the zone” while writing. It was flowing pretty easily, and I hoped it would continue. And it has. I’m back on my daily treadmill pace of 3 to 5 decent pages minimum.
If you can keep that up within about “100 days” you’ve almost got yourself a book. (Proofing, editing, etc., follow of course.) I tend also to write in spurts of about 30 minutes to an hour, and recently read we’re most work productive generally in bursts like those. So I can now say that, yes, that does seem to apply to me.
I’m sometimes so focused I’m returned to the present day from my fictionalized mid-1990s only when I realize…. “Ouch, I haven’t moved in over half an hour and my right leg is now asleep from sitting on it.”
Then I think, what’s up on the iPad in social media world? I’ll take just a second and have a look….
After several days of thinking hard about it, I took the HUGE decision at last: yes, I would finally tell my novelist uncle in America that I’ve written (and I’m still writing) novels under a pen name.
What pushed me over the edge was asking myself, “Suppose he were to pass away and I never told him? How would I feel?”
As any author knows, reader reviews can’t be ignored nowadays. Amazon is central in that change. Readers may praise, but authors now also need a skin as tough as iron too.
Authors aren’t alone. A business owner we know got an appalling review a few months ago on a non-Amazon site from a customer who’d – we were told – had a personal ax to grind. It was “1 star” followed by a single, vitriolic sentence. (How classy.)
I recall a B&B owner where we stayed some years ago in Canada telling us of a recent guest (and she said she suspected who it was) who’d given her a poor review on TripAdvisor because he didn’t like the breakfast. She told us that he got exactly what everyone else got (which was exactly what was promised), and never complained to her in person which, she said, would have at least allowed her to have addressed what he didn’t like. Instead he left having said nothing and scribbled something negative online, which she thought was unfair and even nasty of him.
I’ve been writing lots in recent days. There are just those times it “flows” and you find you just keep “going with it.” It’s sorta like being on a “winning streak” in sports. (Thus decidedly unlike England’s current World Cup cricket team’s experience.)
When you find yourself “in the zone” you don’t want to do anything to mess it up. You pray it keeps going for quite a while. Given that, after the first “sneak peek” last month into the new novel’s manuscript, I figured I’d share a second here.
My uncle has been at me again. Out of the blue, he sent me a Facebook message early yesterday:
Obviously I’ve removed his name and replaced his photograph with a stock silhouette image. As you may know he’s a HarperCollins published novelist (his first books appeared in the 1980s) and also writes screenplays. As you probably also know if you stop by here regularly (Hello again!), he has no idea (yet) that I’ve taken up writing.
His message got me thinking about the process of turning novels into movies – helped along by the fact that currently we’re seeing lots about a newly released major film that’s based on a massively selling recent novel.