Living Between the Lines

Wait! The writer in me is trying to get out…

The post that isn’t a post…

Today I am determined to post something on my blog. I have been determined to post something, anything, every day for the past week. Determination is not all it is cracked up to be and can be easily diverted I have found. Hence, I sit at my keyboard and begin to type only to find myself writing something else entirely. I am very aware of the need to be writing stories and this need seems to be interfering with my ability to update this blog with anything noteworthy.

What is the problem? No inspiration? No, I think it is lack of Focus.

My head is currently playing host to a myriad of ideas that fight for space. Picture Piccadilly Circus during Rush-Hour. That’s my brain at the moment.

I look at it like this:

In my head, characters bustle around and busy themselves with finding the best spot. They hope I will notice them. They don’t always know where I will look, who I will seek out but they know that look I will.

There is a category in there called, “inspiration” it serves that part of me that likes to sit and laze in the sun (though I am mostly in the shade these days). Inspiration sits up and takes notice when I am feeling particularly thoughtful and it poses ideas that happily break through the sunlight and dance in my brain.

It seems to me that many of my best stories have been written whilst just sitting doing nothing at all. The problem is these stories tend to remain in my head. They have opening lines that would wow you. They have endings that would make you gasp. Where is my notebook? Don’t I keep it on me at all times for just such occasions as all writers should do? Er, well, yes and no. It is definitely a case of “do as I say and not as I do.” Every writer should keep a notebook handy, I agree. Do I? Sometimes. Not good enough is it?

Thankfully, there is another category in my head called, “Save for later.” Here, characters twiddle their thumbs and brush up their plots. They practise their lines as surely as any actor on a stage. Sometimes they manage to squeeze out of their own category and pop up in, “Inspiration” – then there really is a story that gets written down!

Words are stored in my head. They live in glorious disarray most of the time, joining together as and when I please. They are divided, very roughly, into those I use in every day in speech and emails and those that emerge, polished and shining like gems to adorn the page of prose that is sometimes a little over wrought to be honest. Still, if the mood takes me I will use them and admire them for a while before reluctantly returning them to the box marked ‘verbose’.

‘Verbose’ must be my word of the month. Even the way one pronounces it is a little verbose I think. The dictionary quotes it as meaning: “containing an excess of words, so as to be pedantic or boring,”

Yes, ‘Verbose’ deserves to be left alone.

Sometimes I think that all these words spinning round in my head ought to be able to jump out onto the page unasked with no further work on my part but to read them and marvel.

This past couple of weeks, inspiration has been plentiful, time has been short and focus sadly lacking. Things just don’t go according to plan all the time. I sat down yesterday to finish one post but it turned into a short story which I now need to polish and send off to the magazine that I used to write for – well, why not? I have a raft of ideas floating in this brain of mine but I will have to wait until they crash land onto my computer. Ah, there is another thing…computers!

I began a post bemoaning the fate of my laptop but it turned into a rant that turned into an unfinished ‘something’ on the same day, I began a post on people who have inspired me which changed, part way through, to a mini-novel.

So, forgive me while I try to ‘focus’ this brain of mine, normal service will resume as soon as possible!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Zoe Barker

    Do i take after my Mother? Yes!

    This is exactly how I feel most of the time, as you well know. You have to listen to such musings on a daily basis and watch me stomping and scribbling and making cups of tea whilst procrastinating before being summoned by a client to amend a website “urgently” diminishing the opportunity to scribble the creative thoughts that had two minutes ago filled my head.

    Onwards and upwards, sketchbook in pocket!


  • Patricia

    I write some of my best stuff when my hands are busy putting berries in the freezer or cutting up mounds of veggies – then again scrubbing the floors. How to get it out of the head in a proper and orderly fashion – ever the fate…and then how to keep it flowing when hands are finally connected to instrument.
    I got Dragon Dictate for my computer but then I can not seem to talk hooked up to a leash and performing another task.

    The speech therapist had my youngest get a dictation recorder app for her cell phone so she could tell her cell her assignments and plans and then play them back when it was time to do homework or get to an appointment. My cell phone will text my ideas into a folder – sometimes with interesting new words!

    When you get this sorted and have a plan for focusing, achieving success, will you please write a manual for those “others” of us?

    You brought me quite a smile with this.

    I am trying to write a fee for service page for my new listening blog…Wise Ears dot com and wow can I get distracted – ! Focus Focus Focus

    • Deborah Barker

      Hi Patricia, If I ever do have a plan for focusing and achieving success I will certainly broadcast it – equally should you find the answer first, do share! Glad I made you smile – my last post seemed to make everyone cry LOL!

  • Andrea Carlisle

    This sounds so familiar, Deborah. I’m currently in the same boat, looking for land so I can settle down and write a blog post. But no land in sight.
    If misery loves company then, well, here I am sister.

  • Katie Gates

    This post speaks volumes for writers!!! Yesterday, I had to draft a proposal for one of my clients — quick turnaround, and a deadline I didn’t learn about until 3 in the afternoon. Inevitably, the perfect sentences came to my mind when I was at the sink, doing dishes. The minute I returned to the computer, they vanished! Of course, that’s the work I get paid to do. As for the blog posts (and as you know), I hit a burn-out place last month — hence the four-parter that ended two days ago. Now, my weekend agenda is set: I want to prep at least one new post so I can begin anew on Wednesday. It’s tricky, and I’ve been feeling sort of a general malaise permeating the blogosphere. A writer virus that has put us all on hold? If so, then at least we are in good (and talented!) company. Hope this comment wasn’t too verbose!

    • Deborah Barker

      Katie: “A writer virus that has put us all on hold?” LOL! I wonder. Lack of focus does seem to be prevalent at the moment though, as you say. Perhaps it has something to do with the weather or Spring or the Ozone layer…
      Your four-parter was intriguing and the final instalment perfect – no burn-out noticed. Like you, I shall now try and prepare a post or two for the coming weeks.
      Thanks for making time to comment – no not verbose at all! 🙂

  • Deb

    Perhaps Flossie could take over while you’re sorting things out. 🙂

    This all sounds pretty normal to me, and you’re writing stories, which is something to celebrate. Even when you write about not being able to write, your writing is such a pleasure to read.

  • Lynette Benton

    What a hilarious post. Believe me, the feelings expressed in it are shared by many of us writers.

    I hope you’ll get back to those characters and plots that are waiting for you. I look forward to reading your stories!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: