Strange things happen to writers in their everyday lives away from the confines of the keyboard, notes, research, and the like, all indicative of their latest WIP.
By profession, I work long hours trucking up the highways and byways of this fair island delivering hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of goods every day. On my travels, I frequently tune into the local radio stations, news bulletins and of course, the traffic reports. It is primarily in my work that inspiration hits me for a project to be, or indeed, one currently in progress. Several times this month alone, a line has come to me as I’ve thought long and hard, the white lines of the road disappearing beneath the front of the truck as it chews up the miles to the next drop. In such moments, pen at the ready, along with an old food wrapper which now serves as a temporary manuscript, I attempt to jot down the essence of my thoughts for later use.
I am pretty sure that I am not the only writer who suffers from this affliction. I’ll be stuck in a jam somewhere in the endless roadworks, my head a million miles away in a Russian stronghold, surrounded by rebel soldiers as a troubled man comes to terms with the power he now wields. I PLACE myself there, in the scene, as if the passenger seat carries General Volkov or Viktor Seuchencko. The BMW that cuts me up doesn’t bother me then, nor does the lane closure up ahead, or the fifteen-mile diversion I know I have to take. Lately, there have been times when I really should have been listening, instead, I’ve been ducking bullets or diving for cover from the RPG as it snakes its way to Earth from a high vantage point, returning intermittent fire to ward off the legions.
The problem is, I can’t make it stop.
As the second book in the Salby series draws to a close and publication, I find myself fired by the feedback that has already come. My mind simply won’t rest until I’ve drawn up the plans for the sequel, despite the squillion or so things that require my attention in my ‘normal’ life. There’s another anomaly, ‘normal life’. My perception of what my normal life is has changed since I began to get deeper and deeper into my writing, to learn the art of crafting a story that isn’t only for my sister, as Salby Damned primarily was, but to create something others will enjoy and take pleasure from reading. Not only that, the advice and tips I get on a daily basis sometimes send me into a spin, because I know I made those errors.
I write my best stuff when it comes from within. I find that words flow with the emotions of a time, emotions I could never really say, but can write and express so much easier. It is said that creative people are hard to fathom. I believe that – unless you’re a creative person too. It is no secret that the toll my first book took upon my then relationship was severe, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been through that particular grinder.
I’d like to give a shout out to the PARTNERS of those of us in the writing fraternity. They suffer endless hours of us being miles away, close enough to touch. They endure vacant stares as if we look at a mark on the wall behind them, through them. We steal their character traits and plagiarise them into our stories, breathing life into fictional people in fictional worlds. The household ‘to do’ list grows ever longer, the universal ‘I’ll get around to it, love’ excuse being the international standard response as we revel in an action or romance scene that just won’t quit. They tolerate the witching hour bolt upright positions, the bed bounces as a line pops into our minds with a dark-of-night exclamation:
“That’s it! That’s perfect! Pen, I need a pen, I’ve got to write that down…”
I’m fortunate of late to have crossed paths with someone of a similar nature to my own, that mind that will never cease, nor is it required to. We share a love of words in all their forms. I am well aware that not all writers have a partner who understands this. It is to those who manage to iron out the turbulent seas of creative people, to ride with them on the calmer, lapping shores of their imaginations that I salute. It takes a special kind of person to be a supportive partner to a writer. Thank you, on behalf of us all.