Leaving something behind

It was a very sad week this week for my family. My grandmother passed away after 90 amazing years of being active and social and always exploring life. She packed a lot into those years so while it was sad to let her go, it was great to rejoice in the memories of the adventure that she had lived.

Naturally, as I’m sure we all do when faced by the realism of our own mortality, I thought of what I would be leaving behind. The song of a hundred unfinished stories filled my head and I realised that I really am wasting too much time. I know I have finished and published some stories, but next to the ones that are partly written, I can promise the best is yet to come!

I know last week I talked of well wasted time, but the truth is, much of my time recently has been wasted in front of the television, and much of that television was reality TV (house buying, house renovating or racing around the world). I can’t help but think these reality TV shows are just a poor substitute for doing it yourself? And if I’m honest with myself, I have collected enough material on these subjects now to satisfy me for life.

It’s time to do.

I think it will be harder than my chocolate-free months, but I want to give up all reality TV between now and New Year; documentaries, news, renovation anything, all gone. If it didn’t employ a writer of fiction to create it, I am not watching it. I know that sounds like I’m not cutting my options by much, but there are only a couple of fictional programs I like, so most of my evenings will end up being TV free.

If I want to leave behind more than a dent in the lounge then I need to start getting up off it and sitting at the desk instead. And I will also be turning off the internet, there is more reality TV on the net to trip you up than there has ever been on TV.

No more excuses, my writing starts again now!

An important waste of time

I’ve written about writer’s guilt before; the feeling that any spare time spent doing anything other than writing is wasted time. I suspect most driven people in any pursuit, be it business, the arts, or anything that requires a lot of time probably feel the same.

But every now and then you get a reminder that not all frivolous actions are wasted time.

I have been lucky enough to be much closer to my family in the last 12 months after over 16 years of living out of the state (and sometimes the country). My writing has certainly suffered over the last year, but my relationship with my family is stronger than ever.

You can’t just order that up and get it delivered. It takes time. And sometimes that time feels like it is being wasted. Long chats over the dinner table and sitting watching a favourite TV show with those you love can be very rewarding, even if they leave you with no words in the novel bank. They are also moments you will cherish when you no longer have the opportunity to slip into them at will.

Remember, everything is material when you are a writer. The way I see it is that I’ve just spent a lot of time on research this year. And I’m very at peace with that.

Word count this week: zero.

The power of words

There is nothing that compares to being lost in a good book. I am currently reading ‘A Game of Thrones’ by George R. R. Martin and am thoroughly loving it (thanks Leif for the recommendation). I have nearly missed my bus stop because I’ve been so engrossed, and in less interesting meetings my mind will wander to speculating what might happen next (note to boss or colleagues; my meetings with you guys are always interesting).  

Clearly I am under the spell of this book.

Whenever I am like this I think about the power the author has over me. What they can teach me, what they can make me passionate about, or hate, and what I, as an author, would love to arouse in my readers if I were to be able to cast that spell of an un-put-downable book.

There is a league of tweens, teens and women old enough to know better who are in love with pasty boys after the magic of one particular series. Many kids know what basilisks and all manner of ancient magics are thanks to another (wonderful) series.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to marry a fantastic novel with a great message without sounding preachy? Imagine if young Harry made a point of always putting his used cans in the recycling bin, or Edward boasted of how his raw-food diet and great night vision helped to lower his carbon footprint. Okay, fell into preachy straight away, but I’d love to see it done well. 

Better yet, I’d love to do it! Time to get writing…