Monday, 14 March 2016

What writers do when the power goes out

Image result for power out
The darkness drops again...

If I was a deeply religious person, I'd think that it was divine intervention, or a message from above. Instead, I'm beginning to wonder whether it's my creative muse giving me a little zap.

Several times this month my Power Supplier has informed me that the electricity will be switched off for eight hours, in a few days time. Let me just repeat that. EIGHT HOURS! That's 480 minutes or  a full working day.

Oh. My. Freakin' God!

Now, before you start sending cheques, let me clarify: It's not because I haven't paid my bill, heaven forbid, but because they're doing maintenance on the lines. Or something. And each time I have cursed the aforementioned heavens and had to get better organised.

Preparing for the Stone Age

Being in the final throes of the first draft of my second Agatha Christie Book Club, has meant charging up the laptop the evening before said Power Outage so I can at least get a few decent hours of work in before my world turns Stone Age.

It's happened twice already and I have two more 'Off Days' scheduled before the month is out. Arrrgggh!

Except, really, if I think about it, it's a blessing in disguise. Because no power means no WiFi and no TV and no kettle and all those other modern distractions that drag me from my typing and help me to procrastinate.

And as every author knows, it's so easy to procrastinate when you're writing a book. Hell, it's practically mandatory. That and copious supplies of coffee.

Without power, however, both things become a lot more difficult, and the world becomes very, very small. Suddenly all I have is a tiny window of opportunity to get some typing done—four hours if the laptop battery is behaving itself. Suddenly I need to focus as I've never focused before. Every second counts. I don't muck around. I don't check Facebook or put the washing on or phone a friend. I just sit and I type and I type and I type — for four hours straight.

Without a single coffee break, mind.

And then—gasp—the laptop goes black and I am left with nothing but a dead screen and my thoughts.

And that's okay, too, because as every writer also knows, there's nothing better than some 'dead time' to really let your brain come to life. On both occasions I use that time to ponder what I have written, tighten a few plot points, and reconfigure several characters who weren't quite dancing off the page. 

And I do it all with these weird gadgets they call 'pencils' and 'notepads'. And things do not fall apart! The centre does hold! Mere anarachy is far from loosed upon the world. In fact, efficiency and calm appear to descend and my brain is as lit up as a light bulb.

By the time the full eight hours is over and the power is miraculously back on, I am fully recharged, my book is humming along and we are both the better for it.

So, bring it on oh Power (Company) That Be. Your maintenance work on the power lines is powering up my focus and creativity.

As for you, dear readers? Look out for my new book in the coming months. Just a few more power outages and it'll be done.

Until then, happy reading.

xo Christina

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