by Sharon Archer
– Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
– Nottinghill.... yep, again!
– Best of Buddy Holly
Making me Smile
– these doctor ducks!
Before I started writing, I was a medical scientist. My days were spent at a laboratory bench and my watchwords were accuracy, meticulous technique, mathematical precision and rigorous quality control! These are great traits for a medical scientist because there is nothing worse than having racks loaded with urgent special stains, for instance, and then finding out you’ve run out of the reagent you need next.
Nothing was left to chance. If it was within my control, then controlled it would be.
My ducks were lined up - always!
So... when I started writing, I expected to be able to translate this ruthless organisation over to my creative process.
It didn’t work!
For a long time, I felt hamstrung, a creative push-me-pull-you, unable to make headway in any direction. My internal medical scientist wanted to fill out character charts, plan the order of each scene, line up the ducks in order of height, weight, colour, feather type. Any measurable characteristic would do. While my muse was bored! She wanted to dive right in, scatter the ducks across the pond, see where they ended up. See what they looked like from this angle or that angle. Or from underneath! She was a rebel! And my medical scientist thought she was a pain in the... you-know-what!
Luckily, about the time things were getting a bit fraught, I discovered Stephen King’s autobiography, On Writing. I realised it was okay to let go, not to know everything, to go boldly! It’s not comfortable... but it’s the way it is!
Today, my duck-liner is out of her comfort zone again. Our modem has died – it’s taken weeks of gasping and staggering and hours of first aid from the ISP helpdesk but, finally, it’s stopped!
I’ve begged for cybertime from a friend so I can post this blog. I mightn’t be able to answer your comments in a timely fashion but I’d love to know...
Do you line up your ducks? Or have you discovered things about yourself that have annoyed you? Or maybe, delighted you?
I’ll give away a copy of my latest book to one of my commenters... as soon as I can get back on to the ‘net to speak to you again!