Goldie's Blog

Between manuscripts: a discomforting time.

21 January, 2012 | By Goldie Alexander

I have just completed two manuscripts and I feel terrible. I know that sounds like a contradiction. There is a terrible hiatus in a writer’s life if nothing new seems to be forthcoming. Ideas race in and out of one’s head, but right now, they all seem too hard. They will take too much planning. They involve months and months of writing and rewriting and maybe in the end they won’t even work.

Many authors write about that ‘black-out’ time. Some call it ‘writer’s block’. Others just think they need a rest. All I know is that not getting stuck into my normal activity is discomforting. I don’t have time right now to start anything new, and those completed ms need to sit for a while before they receive another draft. I need to view them objectively and that can’t happen when my eyes glaze over what I recently wrote as it’s all too familiar.

Instead I have been working in what feels like a food factory. We have four plum and four apple trees. What the visiting rosellas, blackbirds and wattlebirds decide in their infinity generosity to leave to us humans, I either freeze – and this means loads and loads of apples. When it comes to the plums I make into a sauce I use in cooking. Some is even turned into jam. This year I went that further step by buying up tomatoes and making chutney. I had hoped to make it spicy but somewhere between the store and home, I lost the chili. It’s okay, though I still think the chili would have added a decent kick.

This week I am off to Sydney where I will eventually hit the NSW Writers Centre to run an all day workshop on ‘writing memoir’. I love visiting Sydney as I have always found it an exciting city. The other day I was listening to Howard Jacobson describe his years in Sydney as an academic. He agrees with me about Sydney’s vibrancy, but complains that the atmosphere wasn’t congenial for work. Rather Sydney is a city for having fun.

He may be right! I’d be interested to hear what other authors think about various cities that either inspire us to work, or offer hints there might be more enjoyable ways to spend our time.

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