The best laid plans of desperate novelists…

I am at home. I am not in Tasmania, where I was supposed to be. Instead, I am stealing a few minutes while the children watch a Yo Gabba Gabba DVD, to catch my thoughts.

Astrid came down midway through the week with a violent gastro bug, and Mirko and I have been cleaning up vomit and diarrhoea pretty much around the clock for a few nights (they are all starting to blur into each other, so don’t ask me to be any more precise than that). She was certainly not fit to travel, so we have cancelled the whole trip. (Can I just say that I was mightily impressed by Virgin Blue who bent the rules to save us losing our entire fare, and to Europcar and Curringa Farmstay, who were so bloody understanding and didn’t charge us any cancellation fees whatsoever: so rare for companies to show such good will). The cancelled trip means that my crucial research will not get done; this means that my plans for my novel are in turmoil.

Between bouts of irrational fury (for surely it was some careless parent who sent their still-sick child to daycare who is to blame for my work being disrupted) and teary despair (now the book will never get written), there is one hugely important lesson in this for me. I have a sick little zombie girl, who’s all floppy and still, and all that matters is that she gets better on her own time, with lots of cuddles and love (and a mattress on the floor in front of the television). My current predicament is the embodiment of those wise words by Stephen King in On Writing: life is not a support system for art; it’s the other way around.

Workwise, I’ll try to turn this week into a positive. Ordinarily it’s impossible for me to write out of order, but perhaps I’ll just have to do that, and save the scenes that need the most research until a time when I can get away to Tassie. I’ve pulled out my notebook, and I’m going to break the story down, scene by scene, and see if I can set myself the goal of writing 15000 words this week (thus reaching 40000) by just plugging away with what I can do, rather than moaning about what I can’t.

I can hear a little squeaky laugh from the other room; she’s getting better. What is there to be miserable about?

10 thoughts on “The best laid plans of desperate novelists…

  1. Sorry to hear about a sick squibbin. I’m sure you’ll write out of sequence just fine. It might not be the way you want to do it, but you have the skills to do so. You’re freakishly disciplined that way (and by “freakish”, I mean “admirably”–typo). And you will then have this behind you. If Cap’n Gastralopithacus, or any other nasty, attacks again, you’ll know that you’ve come through this.

    Glad that the giggles have returned.

  2. Ugh, you poor thing. Good luck to the sprog in getting all better, and good luck to you in meeting the deadline. We all know you’re a wonderful writer and that can do it, but I realise that it’s never very comforting when people say things like that.

  3. Oh, there is nothing worse than a sick kiddie. I hope she gets better soon.

    It is a shame you missed out on the trip, but have faith in your talent. You won’t be writing the book as you had hoped, but I’m certain it will be a magnificent book all the same. (((hugg)))

  4. Hi, Kim
    Sorry to hear about your Tasmania trip cancellation. I’m enjoying reading ‘Rosa and the Veil of Gold’ at the moment. I have also bought ‘Gold Dust’ to read later on. In fact, I’ve read quite a few of your books now (‘Giants of the Frost’, ‘Angel of Ruin’, ‘Duet’, and one of your Gina Champion books back in 2007). I’m a big fan of your writing now.
    I look forward to your Year of the Novel course at the QWC starting in July. I’ve made a rough start of sorts, albeit a scanty mess of mixed writing ideas. I hope you have a great Easter despite the Tasmanian plans gone awry. All the best, Joanna :))

  5. Obstacles, can at the time of happening, be seen as the most horrible inconvenient contrivance of a malevolent being, who takes sordid pleasure in the destruction of firmly laid plans and watching us mutely struggle.

    Take a few steps back. . .

    And you still want to curse the bastard πŸ˜›

    I hope your lil’un gets better soon, and that your writing continues to flow. . . even if it wasn’t what you’d anticipated.

  6. I’m sure Astrid is now on the mend and showing how quickly a sick child can make a turnaround (was so impressive at my job at the children’s hospital that it gave me the strength when mine goes down & the parental fretting goes up….yes, even when they are 6′ & teenage it happens).

    Ack on the cancelled trip but that is wonderful regarding the lack of cancellation fees. One less stress in your life! You will get to Tassie (such a gorgeous place to live btw) and it will be at the seasonal-time you need.

    You will be fine writing out of sequence – stretching your comfort zone true, but well, apparently stretching is good to do (why else would there be all those yoga places these days *lol*).

    Fully get the child first, writing second act. Over the years it’s been proven time & time again for me with the stop/start nature of my writing! It does get better & easier as they get taller πŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: A new book. Argh, run screaming! « Hexebart’s Well

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