You can’t force creativity

Here we are on day three of what has become our annual holiday to Yondah on the Yorke Peninsula, and I’ve got a lot to live up to since our inaugural visit last September. Back then I was on my second consecutive month of writing 1000 words a day, and in a tremendous burst of inspiration I wrote something like 10,000 words over the five days of our stay and finished the first draft.

The surroundings are certainly conducive to creativity – a luxurious ‘beach house’ with a wall of windows looking out over the sea towards Kangaroo Island, situated on 300 acres of farm land, with no neighbours for literally miles. Plus I’m most of the way through my first month of 1000 words a day on my next manuscript. I know exactly what’s going to happen with my characters, if not with the exact details of the plot. I was pretty confident that I’d get the stream of consciousness thing happening and hopefully double my daily word count.

But it’s not happening, god damn it. On our first day here I managed a whopping 318 words, but since we didn’t get here until 4.30pm I let myself go on that one. Yesterday was much better – I wrote more than 1500 words. That sounds good, but the writing has felt forced. The narrative is not flowing and I’m not happy with where it’s going. I feel like I’m doing my characters a disservice. I’m just marking time and writing shit until I get some inspiration. I know that’s what I have to do sometimes to keep the propulsion happening, but I’m not feeling good about it.

This is the third day now and I’m still not inspired. I probably shouldn’t be putting so much pressure on myself, considering this is supposed to be a holiday and I’m supposed to be relaxing. But I can’t help comparing this with my last visit when I was on literary fire. I’m not sure whether I should keep forcing the words out or just go with the flow (when there is one) and only write when the inspiration is there.

I know I’m not going to finish this draft in the next three days, so there’s no real hurry. The sun has just come out again after a morning shower, so maybe I’ll put the computer away for a while and get outside for some fresh air. Maybe later I’ll be ready to write again.

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