Past Me is a bit of a nightmare!

I’ve mentioned my diary before. It’s one of those 5-year ones which has just enough space for a tweet-length analysis of my day.

Sometimes I love immersing myself in the events of the previous year or the year before that. Sometimes, I can’t read them, because I know those entries contain painful memories.

And sometimes, it seems as though Past Me is simply gloating. Yesterday was one of those days.

It turns out that my current character was zipping along so well last year – and the notes, ideas, jotted fragments of scenes to develop were piling so high – that I’d designated the project its own ring binder.

This is a big step in my ‘new project’ journey because it means the idea has legs; it’s going to be the next big thing. It’s the moment after ‘Ooh, I wonder…’ and before ‘Yep, here’s a first draft!’

Except… 365 days later – aka, last night – my entry was rather to the contrary. The character is stuck, stalled, waiting for something (me) to give her story wings. Not that she’s without fault – she’s being very secretive about her story. I start, stop, rewrite the same scene in five different ways. I sit silently, trying to piece the ideas which come to me overnight together, and they’re not fitting.

I’ve mentioned all of this on here before, I know. It’s an on-going battle I’m having with myself, my character, and the universe.

This morning over breakfast, I read an article on the Booker Prize website: ‘When I finished it, I felt immortal’: How Eleanor Catton wrote The Luminaries, winner of the 2013 Booker Prize. The author says:

“I remember feeling just very weighed down at the end of The Luminaries. I was not sure, up until I finished it, that it was going to work.”

I realised that’s how I feel about my project. It feels too big to manage, I’m scared by the possibilities and the enormity of the story, and the direction I could go in. I’m exhilarated by the themes, but tied down by my inability to identify the voice, the actual narrative I need to give those themes a framework.

But perhaps that’s the point of writing. To push yourself beyond your boundaries, to dig deep, to force yourself to discover a truth the characters believe in.

Therefore, tomorrow, after work and before my much-needed sports massage, I’m going to sit down with some of my favourite songs playing in the background, with my trusty fountain pen and my beautiful notebook, and try to get some words on the page

Are you a writer who’s struggled with the enormity of the ideas you have?

Have you read The Luminaries? What did you think? (I haven’t – would you recommend it?)


11 thoughts on “Past Me is a bit of a nightmare!

    1. I have words, but they’re not necessarily in the right order yet 😂 (It makes me laugh every time I use that phrase… it’s a British thing relating to a very old TV comedy sketch.)


  1. I definitely have, especially when writing a book in a series, making sure I’ve included what I needed and wrapped up plot threads and the challenges the main protagonist faces. Currently dealing with that now!


  2. Hi Annalisa – I start blog posts over and over again … a novel – I’d have rather more than I could cope with. I admire you – and know that you’ll push through – the lighter days hopefully will help – take care and with thoughts – Hilary


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