I have joined the hundreds of other would-be writers who think that a few months in the south of France is the solution to writer’s block. Away from the distractions of the real world, that long-imagined novel will come to fruition. The Provencal lifestyle will provide the perfect environment in which to sit back and think through intricacies of plot and nuances of character. The 100,000 words (the length of the average novel, apparently) will fly off the keyboard and arrive on the publisher’s desk to an enthusiastic welcome. Your summer in the south will be rewarded by both critical acclaim and best-seller status.
The truth is, writing in the south of France is as difficult as writing anywhere. Perhaps more so.
The range of displacement activities is vast. There are friends to catch up on. There are markets to visit. There are sights to see. There is lunch.
Kingsley Amis famously forced himself to write 500 words each morning and would not take a glass until he had done so. For him, this served as a useful discipline, and also an incentive. For me, it is an example.
It is coming up to midday and I have written a couple of hundred words of the novel, and come to a full stop. Literally. It’s not fully-fledged writer’s block, but my protagonist won’t do what the plot requires him to do.
I am loathe to give up on either. But something will have to give. But not right now.
Instead, I am now embarking on this blog. It’s a quicker way to the quota. And it keeps me writing which, without client-imposed deadlines, is something of an issue. In the south, they have several words for mañana, but none of them communicate the same sense of urgency.
I see that from Word that I have now written more than 300 words. Add that to the 200 of the novel earlier, and the quota is complete.
Plus it’s midday. Mañana.
Today from the everysmith vault: Hot Tuna from 1988, with guests Paul Kantner and – briefly – Grace Slick. Paul introduces Grace as “my ex-wife, the mother of my child and the devil incarnate” before they sing together on Wooden Ships. You can find the show on Wolfgang's Vault. JimiK, I commend it to you.