Man I miss the groove.
When I wrote The Professional Tourist, I got into a real groove. Writing a couple thousand words a day, every day. I’d go to the art gallery/cafe that was inside of the Tricycle Theatre on Kilburn High Road after work and just tap away at it. It felt good.
I surprised myself many days, realizing a new angle the story would take, seeing things develop unexpectedly, all kinds of fun that made that book what it was.
I felt that with Last Dance at the Kitten Club and Bleeding Heart Yard as well, to a certain degree. Both of those novels I wrote at the bookstore in London – the first draft of BHY was done in a month as part of National Novel Writer’s Month.
But ever since I came back to Canada I’ve been in a rut. The rut began in the last few months in England, though. But back in Canada, trying to settle down, I got out of any kind of writing routine. The internet doesn’t help. I am easily distracted by shiny objects, and the web is full of them. Yet I’m always plugged in just in case I need wikipedia or something for research. Then next thing you know I’m picking fights on forums about PETA and finding out if those pills in the email really will make my peni– I mean cure my acid reflux.
The way I got back into it was by starting this blog, but it wasn’t a perfect solution, because my blogs tend to be on the range of 500 words or less. Barely a yoga stretch, certainly not a workout.
So now that I have started another novel, one I was hoping I’d have a lot of fun with, I was surprised to discover I wasn’t having much fun at all. I was lucky if I got a thousand words a day done and what I did do felt stilted, forced, awkward. The first twenty pages were like this. It just wasn’t any damn good, and what was worse, I knew it even as I was writing it.
Back in early high school I went through a phase of “Page twelve-ers” where I’d start novels and by page 12 I’d just give up on it. I don’t remember many of them, except one seemed to be a cross between Die Hard and Cobra… (shudder). It felt like I’d returned to those dark days where the creative synapses in my brain hadn’t even been forged, let alone tempered and honed.
Then I got to a certain point in the story, and realized “you know, this is where the story should begin.” All the stuff before it I didn’t like? I’d be able to work it in later as part of a journey of discovery, and it would make more sense, too.
And the groove? Well, I’m not in it, but I’m starting to sense it’s near. I’m starting to feel the familiar rhythms and beats and the excitement of not knowing where something is going 100% but enjoying the ride. Maybe, maybe soon, I can get that old magic back.