Of music and neighbourly mayhem.

Writing is a funny oldf game really. Sometimes the words come, and sometimes they don’t. You cannot really anticipate when and how. However what I have learnt over the years is that when inspiration strikes you do not ignore it or put it off for later, because Lady Inspiration is not generous at all.

When a writer talks about writers’ block, it is often about inspiration, motivation and just finding the words to get out onto the page. With my new project, I’ve had a few of these problems over the last month or so. Partly, I suppose, it is the long hours I work on other commitments. But also it is about being in the right mood.

I use music to set the mood when I write. I think I have mentioned this before. I know one author who is completely opposite and demands silance to be able to work. I personally prefer music for a couple of reasons. Firstly, a well-picked piece of music can help set the mood for what you are writing and actually help the words flow. Also it screens out background noises that can in themselves be quite distracting. There is nothing worse than being half way through a tender love scene (just given as an example) and having your train of thought derailed by the ignorant woman who lives nextdoor in the terrace swearing at her young children. I find I lose what I was doing and start sitting wondering about is it really acceptable for a Mother to use the f-word as every other word to her eight year old child?

The last two days though have been very productive. ‘Bringing home the stars and the stars came home’ has now passed the milestone of 20,000 words. I tend to measure progress mentally in multiples of ten thousand; I’m not sure why. I may decide to put a preview of the new material on the portfolio section of the website, but no promises.

Next week however might see progress slow down a little as another mammoth 70+ hour week at the day job beckons. *sigh* However, I’m starting to get a good grasp on where the story and plot are going and am getting motivation to write. That means that if it is like the period that I wrote ‘The Atlantic Connection’ and ‘Orb of Arawaan’ then I shall be able to manage a few thousand words each day regardless of whether I am also working twelve hour shifts. Here’s hoping.

Incidentally, a few people have asked me about the title for this one. Well, originally the idea started as a successful short story called ‘Bringing home the stars’ that has now been recorded and broadcast as a radio drama as well as appearing in print in a magazine. I had to keep it relatively short, because of the word limit constraints of the magazine I was writing for, but it was clear that the story had far more mileage and that’s one of the reasons why I decided to shelve the anthology in favour of getting this book done first.

The second inspiration for the title comes from Alfred Bester’s ‘The stars my destination’ which I think is a great title. I love slightly abstract sci-fi titles like that. The world of sci-fi is filled with them, so I thought I would get in on the action. Simple.