Anyway, the word burrowed its way into my brain as I dose myself with Ibuprofen and nurse my tender spine. When a word forces itself on me for whatever reason, I always search it on Google Images: not because I believe it to be the fount of all wisdom but because it shows the most popular ideas the word generates in picture form.
So what did I get?
Lots of these:
and variations of these:
plus this kind of thing about the work/life balance:
Now all of these are relevant to me and my life. But it doesn't have any images (not surprisingly) for writers having trouble half way through novel first drafts that they can't go on as it is because it is so unbalanced. This is invariably because the opening section is far too long and there are far too many characters If you've been following me for a while (and thank you if you are) then you will know I am in the midst of my fictional take on life in an an early 14th century nuns' priory. I had reached the point where I was wading through sludge, knowing that if I carried on at this pace the resulting novel would exceed 500, 000 words and still be nowhere near the end. I know first drafts can be as messy as you like but, with me, if I get into a muddle, I have to go back to the very beginning and tidy up before I can go on.
So I scrolled right back to the beginning and before too long it felt like plonking Samson in the barber's chair and watching the clouds of unruly locks fall to the floor. Okay, so this is a neat visual account of my feeling watching all those words I'd slaved over piling up at my feet but it actually gives the wrong message.
I am neither a pre-planner or a pantser but a mixture of both and neither of them. I have to write a whole chunk and, when the wheel threatens to fall off so that I am lurching into the dark in a limping unbalanced way, I stop, pull the vehicle back and fix it. Then I get another few thousand words done before the other wheel spins away into the ditch and it's back to the workshop again. It may be a time-consuming, tedious business but that's the only way I can work with all my fiction, even short stories. I have tried to plan (I get so bored) and I've tried to go all the way through the first draft. (Messy or what?) My method suits me. There's no right and wrong way to write. Just go the way that suits you. Listen to others and perhaps even try their methods but don't feel you have to do what they say. Be yourself. Learn as you write and develop.