Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Thursday, 11 May 2006

grace under pressure

The lovely Sharon J left a great comment on my last post which had me thinking.

Can you write well when you have a word count war going
on? I'd feel under the wrong kind of pressure, I'm sure, and that would just
pull down the quality of my writing.I noticed this when I joined knit-a-longs
(lots of people knit the same thing and it becomes a bit of a competition to
finish first). I'd stress and wouldn't enjoy the knitting and the end result
would be nowhere near as good as it could have been. I'm sure I'd be the same
with writing. And if I were being paid for the work, that'd make it even worse!
How do you manage this? Doesn't it affect you at all?

Hmmm. Don't ya reckon Sharon J makes a really good point?

Would it be better to work in a hermetically sealed room for a week with no distractions, no deadline, no pressure, no one breathing down your neck to write at a particular pace and armed only with the desire to write the best book you can write?

For some people I know this is really important. Some writers need silence and the door shut to their office. Some writers need to sit from 9 to 5 wearing a business suit in order to feel like they are at work. Some writers can't handle one ounce of clutter on their desks as it only distracts. Picture me sighing in resignation, as I imagine myself being one of those people. Tidy, organised, calm, cool and collected...

I on the other hand am currently sitting in my office with the CD player on full blast, the washing machine chugging away in the background, in tracky pants, ugh boots and ratty old fingerless gloves to keep my hands warm. Within an inch of the edges of my computer, in every direction, there is clutter, piles of paper, hordes of scattered pens, a half drunk drink, a half eaten packet of M&Ms, a wall full of quotes and pictures, a handful of statuettes collected on my travels - a mini Eiffel tower from Paris, a quartz elephant from San Gimignano, a Romeo and Juliet statuette from Verona, and a bunch of dried red roses so old I can't even remember their story.

I also have a calendar beside all the clutter with my deadline marked in red pen. I have a writing festival talk to give in two days time. I have visitors coming to stay from next Wednesday until deadline day. I am involved in a BIAW, I am in a word count war with Natasha Oakley, and am insistent that my wordmeter worm grow every day.

Too much physical clutter? Too much brain clutter? Maybe. But for me it works. The pressure of wavering piles of paper. The noise, the stress, the deadline, it gets my adrenalin pumping. And when my adrenalin pumps, that's when I write my best stuff.

Okay, so that took ten minutes out of the three hours I have to write today, so the pressure is now even worse.


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