This has come about as a result of two things. Neither of them are bad and, strangely, they are linked to completely different things and ache in very different ways.
Finger Ache One
I’ve been practising guitar again. I was learning to play back in the summer and with the mini break down I seemed to have around September/October time, I was forced to stop because there just wasn’t time to squeeze it in. I’m a ridiculously busy person. However, with a friend of mine talking about starting a band and asking for drums, guitar and bass (I think) I realised that this was the perfect way to encourage me gently to practise. Just like writing, having a final goal is something that makes the hours of ache much, much easier to handle. Just like my weight loss (two stone and counting!) knowing where you are going, makes it easier to push towards that point and recover from set backs. So… I picked up my guitar again.
Ooooh boy, but my fingers are in agony. And just on one hand. My fretting hand (the left) is sore all over from stretching and raw on the fingertips from holding the strings. The strings are much less hard than they were before we changed them, and it easier to hold them now than it was in summer. But whatever hard skin I may have developed while I was practising every day last year, is now gone. Crickey! Even now, typing this – I touch type, remember? – my left hand is whining at me to stop. Mainly because, previous to writing this post, I was playing catch up on my other blog and typing up the posts that I should have done about four weeks ago. So I’ve already written something in the region of 2000 words today. Not hard, hell I do that for a single post on the Ice Wolf Tavern, but not normally after my fingers have been scraped raw.
The guitar is hanging next to me now; its mounted on a wall hook beside me, looking all awesome and shiny and beautiful. I’ll tell you what; having it so close by to me, is making me feel, more and more, like I want to pick the thing up. Plus, my partner also plays and so does my uncle. An uncle that’s going to be coming along to the party we’re planning here in the new house around Easter. The same uncle, incidentally, who I confidently told I would be able to play guitar with, next time I saw him. Eeep! So now I have two reasons to pull my finger out and get on with it.
I told him I’d be able to play a Bob Marley track with him and, even though I know its not totally possible, it would be nice if it could sound a little like this:
It won’t, not for a while, but I have a goal and, like I said, goals make things easier.
Finger Ache Two
I think this is more metaphorical than a real, physical ache. After all, my fingers do hurt, but this is something deeper than that pain. This ache is mainly from my desire- no, my need to write more. It might sound cheesy and cliché, but I’m incredibly happy when I’m writing. NaNoWriMo reminded me, more than anything has managed for a long time, just how much I love to write. How much it means to me that I can do it and how it feels when I put my fingers to the keyboard keys. Or even when I pick up a pen. I enjoy doing it and so far it is the only consistent hobby I’ve held onto. Everything else has had a shelf life of around five years… maybe six. Writing I’ve been doing since I was twelve.
This ache is more of the growing understanding that since Christmas I’ve lost my focus. I remember in November, when I was pushing to get the NaNo finished, I was writing almost every single day, sometimes as much as 10,000 words in one run. It felt wonderful, but the reason I managed to do that was because I had a goal and a mission and an end point that it was important to me that I reach. I think I’ve lost sight of that since the competition ended. Yes, I’ve managed to ‘win,’ I’ve got my printed certificate and everything, but that is the end of that, its a mission completed. Now, the far distant goal of ‘putting a novel in print’ seems unattainable and a long way off.
I keep thinking back to the way I felt back in October when I realised that SORB was in no way ready to offer to agents. I remember how crushed I felt. I’m not quite like that yet, but I have shifted my focus from small steps to the big goal which is, obviously much further away and a long term goal.
So, this ache in my fingers, to get back to my keyboard and write is my head pushing at me to keep working towards that goal. But I think I’ve got it wrong. I think what I need to be doing is setting myself small goals, just like for NaNoWriMo. That was thirty days and I knew what I had to do in that time. Looking forward to next year or the one after when I finally publish… well its no wonder I’m a little demotivated.
I’m going to set myself some smaller goals. I think that’s what I need to do; so say by the end of March that I’ve finished my rewrite of Clash and that I’m going over it a second time to see where more work is needed. The final goal for that novel is June when my voucher for the free proof copy runs out. But there’s no point getting it wrong and then ending up with a rubbish, unpolished novel that no one wants to read, because its a bit crap. I want to be sure its as good as it can be in the time I have available to me now.
Soothing The Ache
Well I know what I have to do in that case. With regards to the first ache, I’d better just keep practising until my fingers are used to it! 😛 The second ache, is a bit harder, but that’s what this blog is for; to remind me what I’m doing and to keep telling the world just in case you forget. Can’t have that can we now?