Posted by Tania Kindersley.
No brain today, on account of having written 1082 words of book. I'm like those lady clones in science fiction films; once I've done my words, the lab worker in the white coat comes along and removes my chip, and my eyes go blank. I just stare into space with a vacant Barbie gaze, incapable of any more rational thought. I can just about do some reading, but that's it for original ideas.
So the fascinating diatribe on social mobility that I was going to give you will have to wait. (I can sense your keen disappointment, rushing at me over the airwaves.)
The interesting thing about today was that it was not what I had planned. I slept badly last night and was feeling cross and uninspired. I decided that I would have a reading day. I still have an awful lot of reading to do for this book, and am getting slightly panicked about it. So that was fine. I do not always need to have a vulgar word count, that I can report in triumph. There must be research and contemplation as well.
When I sat down at my desk though, I thought: I'll have a quick look at what I did yesterday. It did not read so badly. (There is always the terror that I will go back to yesterday's words and find they are five different varieties of nonsense.) I had a quick idea. I'll just do a couple of sentences on that, I thought, before I lose it. The couple of sentences turned into four. Suddenly, I was riffing. It was like jazz, baby. Because I had not sat down with a strict idea of that day's subject, I felt liberated. There was no carping professional on my shoulder. I was going where the music took me.
And there, suddenly, miraculously, were 1082 words on the screen, which had not existed before. Just like that.
I realised there is a piece of writing advice that I do not give my annual summer students, but should. It is: sometimes it's not a bad idea to fool your brain.
Obviously you must be serious and disciplined and keep regular hours. You cannot wait for inspiration to strike. A grave writing career cannot rely on thunderbolts. But there are going to be days when you feel beyond uninspired, your mind filled with silt and detritus. You have not one single useful thought in your whole wide mind. On those days, you can indeed do your research, and that is quite proper. Or you can say to yourself: I'm not really writing today, but I'll just do fifty words of nothing. Just a bit of jotting, you tell yourself. I'll just do ten minutes, and then I shall go and read a scholarly pamphlet. And because you are demanding nothing of your poor old battered brain, you may find that a surprising flight of fancy arrives, quite uninvited.
It's just a thought.
Too tired to take pictures today, so here is a little collection from the last few days, very much on the spring theme:
I know this one is slightly out of focus, but I can't resist it:
And now I am going to take my iron tonic.