If you ask me (and, yes, I know you didn’t) – procrastination? Embrace it.
It’s not like I waste my time on indulgences. My aimless meanderings always seem to revolve around important if also horribly mundane yet necessary tasks. But while I’m staking the tomato plants, cleaning the chook’s cage (NOT a typo. Just the one, geriatric, chicken), or hanging out the washing, more often than not, the fog clears and I see a way past the roadblock that was slowing me down.
And, no. I still haven’t finished the acknowledgments pages I have to send off to my editor tonight (see: Friday’s post)…. now, where’s that broom?
Want to know the secret of writing a book? Just. Do. It.
Case in point. Saturday morning. Trackside as my son warms up – in the rain – for a high jump competition. And me? Tapping away on the laptop in the backseat of the car, planning the next novel to embark on after The Emerald Tablet is released in June this year with Pan Macmillan. Some of my best work has been done in the car while I wait for the kids to finish sport training. Seriously!
If you wait for that perfect stretch of uninterrupted time to write, the reality is that it will never happen. And if, miracle of miracles, the horizon clears and you do find yourself in the enviable position of having a day or two to work on your story, likelihood is that the task will prove too daunting and you’ll find ten thousand far more important things you should be doing with your time… rearranging your sock drawer… cleaning the lint out of the dryer… trimming the dog’s nails… Speaking from personal experience, here!
So, don’t put it off. The more you write, the easier it will be. Even if you end up tossing out 90% of what you do because when you read back over it you realise it was unadulterated garbage!
The blank page is a terrifying thing. So put some words on it.
That’s right. The Acknowledgements page/s. Or, as they should be more appropriately named, ‘The Opportunity to Inadvertently Burn Bridges and Destroy Friendships’ page/s.
Just when it feels like you’re done with the hard slog of getting your manuscript finished and the edits done, you’re confronted with the email from your editor that makes even the most confident writer quake with fear and trepidation. “Now, Meaghan. When are you going to be able to get me your acknowledgements pages?”
What if I forget someone? What if I gush too much about one person and not enough about another?
My own mother banished me to the sin-bin and refused to speak to me for weeks after she read my acknowledgements in The Water Diviner. Why? Well, of course she was mentioned and thanked profusely, so that wasn’t it. The problem was that I said too many kind things about her estranged husband. Who also happens to be my father. Who also happened to be dead at the time (still is, last time I checked. Sorry. Gallows humour). And in The Honourable Thief, I gifted my wonderful publisher, Cate Paterson, an additional ‘t’ in her surname. Ouch.
So as I embark on my next journey into publishing, with The Emerald Tablet due to be released in June by Pan Macmillan, let’s see who I manage to insult this time round. Maybe I should have some fun with it. Get some carefully placed barbs in. But given I only have two pages to play with – yes, two… can you believe it? – I’ll be hard-pressed to get everyone in anyway. Might have to go with some abbreviations and my honourees can play guessing games… “So, do you have any idea who the hell ‘S.K.’ is?” Or, I could go with the favourite Oscars catch-all phrase “… and to all the AMAAAAAZING crew who worked on this film, this is for you – you know who you are!” Cut to the gaffer sitting at home in his armchair: “Yeah, I do. But do you, Mr Movie-Star type, who demanded that nobody below DP dare cast his or her eyes in your general direction during the shoot?”
I digress. Acknowledgements. Whatever industry you’re in – a chance to express gratitude, or a supreme opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot?!
One of the highlights of doing the publicity rounds for The Honourable Thief was having the chance to chat with the wonderful Rosemary Puddy of The Book Podcast. It was enormous fun to do – just like sitting down for a catch-up with a friend over a cuppa and a plate of homemade bikkies. Her questions about the book and the creative process that went into writing it were insightful and thought-provoking, and really made me consider the journey I’d been on.
So if you have any interest in/can bear the thought of listening to me prattle on for half an hour on everything from watching the evolution from script to screen in The Water Diviner to who I think might have the chops to play Benedict Hitchens on the big screen (answer: time-machine Harrison Ford circa 1984), you can find the podcast here.
From the voice of rural Australia (and that’s a helluva big voice), a wonderful review of The Honourable Thief.
Sincere thanks, Weekly Times and Carolyn Exton. I’m truly delighted you enjoyed the read!
… and even if you didn’t – in response to those of you who live outside Australia and New Zealand and have asked about purchasing the book I penned to accompany the TV series, The Pacific: In the Wake of Captain Cook with Sam Neill, I have it on good authority that it will land in your postbox fairly quickly if you order it online through outlets such as this one.
Then, there’s always the e-Book. Though you’ll be missing out a bit because the real, papery book, comes in a lovely, hardcover format with a gorgeous cover and jammed full of illustrations.
See what I mean? Lovely. Exactly what you want to see resting on your bedside table.
As for locals, you’ll find the book in all good (and some bad) bookstores. Or, if you can’t be bothered fighting the crowds, you can order it on the Harper Collins website. Though I’m a big advocate for supporting bricks-and-mortar bookstores. So how about you pop out during your lunchbreak, stretch the legs, and grab a copy at your local?
You won’t regret it. I promise.
Blustery spring days are never my favourite of the many and splendid varieties Melbourne throws up in a given week. But today I had good reason to brave the swirling winds that seem hell-bent on throwing bucketsful of plane tree conker fuzz and road grit into my eyes and transforming my hair into a skein of insta-dreadlocks. You see, I had a date with the wonderful Jan Goldsmith on her show with David McLean on 3CR Melbourne, Published… Or Not.
Jan really knows her stuff, so her enthusiasm for The Honourable Thief means a great deal. You can hear our chat here, along with a fantastic conversation between David and author Louisa Deasey, whose new book, A Letter From Paris, has just risen to the top of my ‘must read’ list. What a story! Well worth confronting the icky weather.
I’ve no hope of avoiding the rather nasty day outside anyway, with a date looming tonight at the MCG to watch the Tigers attempt to retain their place at the top of the AFL heap. Yeah, yeah. Tragic. I know.