LIAN TANNER

Notebook on my bedside table

March 21st, 2015

One of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was to keep a notebook and pen on my bedside table. I write in the mornings – from fairly early up until lunch time. In the afternoons I do business stuff, as well as planning workshops and talks, and researching material for whatever I’m writing.

But what I’ve discovered over the years is that, although I think I’ve stopped working on the novel at about 1.00 pm, there’s a part of me that just keeps going. It ticks away all afternoon, mulling over the problems I’ve come up against, working out better solutions and better wording and better outcomes to whatever situations I’ve put my characters into. I don’t actually notice any of this – I’m too busy sending emails and planning workshops (with bits of gardening in between).

But once I get into bed and turn the light off, those solutions and outcomes start popping up into my conscious mind. So my typical bedtime goes like this:

1. Turn off the light and close my eyes.
2. Start to drift towards sleep.
3. Suddenly have a BRILLIANT idea about the main character and why she’s doing what she’s doing.
4. Turn on the light, grab the notebook and pen from my bedside table and scribble it down before I forget about it.
5. Turn off the light and close my eyes.
6. Start to drift towards sleep.
7. Suddenly realise how to fix that bit of Chapter 7 that I’ve been sweating over for the last three days.
8. Turn on the light, grab the notebook and pen from my bedside table and scribble it down.
9. Turn off the light and close my eyes.
10. Start to drift towards sleep …

Sometimes it goes on for far too long.

Apart from this grab-the-notebook business, it’s been a fairly uneventful week as far as writing is concerned. The editing of Fetcher’s Song continues. Will I get it finished by the deadline (mid-May)? I certainly hope so, because I’ve been invited to visit some schools in Alice Springs at the end of May, and I want to have the edit well out of the way by then. I’ve never been to Central Australia, so I’m a wee bit excited.  I’ve just booked flights and accommodation to go and see Uluru and Kata-Tjuta while I’m there.

What else?

Nothing much. Harry’s well, the chooks are well – Dolly having made a dramatic recovery from what appeared to be a terminal illness. And today is March 21st, which makes it the equinox. For the next six months in the southern hemisphere, the nights will be longer than the days. As you can see below, Harry is already snuggling in for winter. 🙂

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0 thoughts on “Notebook on my bedside table

  1. Io says:

    That’s like how I get to sleep…

    1. Go to bed
    2. Start to drift off to sleep
    3. Remembers the homework due the next day and gets up to finish it
    4. Go to bed
    5. Drift to sleep
    6. Forgets to check email and gets up and checks it
    7. Go to bed
    8. Drift to sleep
    9. Forgot to plug in and charge computer and gets up to do it…

    and goes on and on and on…

    The only days I sleep well is on Friday and Saturday…

    I share Harry’s love for winter it seems. Jackets and winter boots everyday. No getting sunburnt or wearing uncomfortable short shorts. My one true love <3 .

    I will see you at Uluru and Kata-Tjuta in my dreams! Have a fun weekend!

    Io 🙂

    1. Lian says:

      Ah yes, winter. I like it too, as long as it doesn’t go on too long. Fires, soup and snuggly evenings with a good book, interrupted by the occasional heroic walk along the beach in wind that comes straight from the south pole. 🙂

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