This blog is called plodding writer because, much of the time, writing feels like plodding along a soggy, sandy beach just after the tide has gone out. Each step sinks half way up the shins with a sucking noise as each foot is pulled out and put in front of the other to tramp along the shore. In the distance the horizon is curtained in a blue haze. A sign of good weather, they say, of an Indian summer, they say. Immediately followed by, ‘Twill shorten the winter’.
It feels like I’m marooned in a quagmire, not making any progress, despite lucky portents such as Indian Summers and shorter winters. Last year I had an appraisal of the first three chapters of my second novel through the excellent website www.writing.ie. Sue Leonard spent over an hour talking me through insightful and perceptive suggestions for edits. She also offered proposals to strengthen the synopsis and query letter. Her main recommendation: to keep at it, that the premise of the story had merit, not to give up, it is a novel worth finishing. Some time after that I attended an inspiring and energising ‘Discovery Day’ at Foyles of Charing Cross Road, London. Again, the main message, keep going. Keep working. Keep sending work out. In other words keep on writing or plodding to use my phrase.
Early this year I was fortunate to spend over five weeks in Sierra Leone, where the novel is set and where I volunteered as a naive idealist in the late 80s. Thankfully, my visit predated the Ebola outbreak which is causing such havoc and devastation in an already fragile and over stretched economy. The trip allowed me revisit the haunts and scenes of the story and walk in the footsteps of my characters.
My point though is; despite having so much input, creativity and encouragement to edit and polish the novel, work on the manuscript is progressing even more slowly than trudging along a boggy beach. There have been some upheavals and life distractions also in the past year. But is that enough to explain the Doldrums?
What is needed is to keep on plodding on. To set a word count and stick to it each day. Easier said than done. Suggestions warmly welcomed on how to get out of the Doldrums. What do others do to avoid floundering in a Sea of Editing Despondency.