… and still nothing but a seething mass of words. Actually a lot of them aren’t even seething, they’re just lying about, lumpen and inert and pointless, and taking up all of my desk, all of the kitchen table, three whole notebooks and three more half ones. They are everywhere – I’ve even got them on the walls, scribbled on those magic whiteboard pages that are essentially squares of white plastic bin bag.
I’m trying to write an outline for a radio drama. In three parts, which makes it worse. And better, obvs, cos there are three parts and therefore, presumably (I don’t know, I’m new at this) three times the money. But that’s only if I get commissioned. Which will only happen if I write a decent outline. Which I have spent nearly four months not doing. Four months. I know. I have been doing other stuff too, of course I have: school runs and cake sales and teaching and Christmas and dealing with aged parents who have either been in hospital, or flooded, or refusing to use their neighbour’s generously donated mobile phone when they were cut off for two weeks, because they didn’t like the shape of the buttons (the same as the buttons on their normal phone) and ‘it kept making strange buzzing noises’ (yes Dad, that was people trying to get hold of you to make sure you weren’t dead).
Anyway, so. I’ve been busy. Ish. But that’s neither here nor there. Most writers have to fit their writing around other work or kids or both, and I’d never use busy as an excuse. You make the time. And I’ve made lots of time. I’ve made time at 6am before the packed lunches an the mopping up of cereal from tables, carpets and uniforms; I’ve made time in the dead of night, crawling into bed at 4am and lying to my husband about what time it is (‘oh just after one, I think, go to sleep’). I’ve made hours and hours and hours of time when I’ve hardly checked my emails or twitter at all, but have done brainstorming and dictating onto my phone and free-writing and character monologues. I’ve not been lounging about, is what I’m saying.
And yet it all amounts to nothing. Nada. A big pathetic zilch. Hundreds and hundreds of pages, 7000 possible permutations of the first page, the first act, the first page – but none of it works. I despair. Or I did, until I discovered it’s a thing.
Really, I have a thing. It’s called Hyper Creativity Disorder. Which, as things go, sounds like a pretty good one. Excess always sounds better than a lack, doesn’t it, and creativity is – well, great, isn’t it? Well, no, apparently. Not great at all. Because it means I am completely swamped in ideas, and I can’t see the wood for the trees. I think maybe there might be something I can do, but in order to find out what I need to wade through about a hundred articles online, which I can’t do because I’VE GOT TO WRITE AN OUTLINE. So I’ll have to be content, for now, with knowing that it’s not just me, and that I’m not making it up. I have a thing.
Also what I have is a small corner of the table left, if I squish things up a bit, some space left in three notebooks and – yes, here it comes – the beginnings of another idea…