Dear Writer Girl - Writing The New Novel, Week 1, Sessions 1-3
Feb 25, 2022
NOTE: I began my new novel, Novel 4 [as-yet-officially-titled,-but-I-have-the-name-in-my-head], on January 4th, 2022. I began keeping a record of the process on my Instagram account [leone.ross] and replIcating on Twitter. But it occurs to me that this little blog and this website has been neglected far too long, so I am going to put it here as well - makes it easier to provide a link, apart from anything else.
Some Session reports are very short, as this first one, here. They get longer, but I don't think they will ever be really THAT long, so don't expect a book. :-)
Over the last few months I have posted twice for each writing session - to get me going, a morning check-in, and then a round-up at the end of the day.
I do this to please myself, to keep myself going, and just in case this is useful or interesting or edifying for other writers and readers. There will be pictures of me, a lot of the time, which helps me in ways I won't bore you with here. :-)
Enjoy, come back, share. Or don't. :-) Thanks for passing by.
SESSION 1 - Jan 4th, 2022
Reporting Day 1 of new novel writing: YES. OK: maybe.
As it should be.
PS. It’s high time I added alt text to my posts but doing so can be triggering to body dysmorphia. I shall be doing the best I can, going forward and hope this first effort is OK. [Pic 1: Leone, a cisbi light skinned Black woman in her 50s, faces camera, hand on jaw, a resigned but vaguely amused expression on her face. There is a fiery emoticon superimposed on her forehead with the word LIT inside it, to indicate creative shit in progress]
SESSION 2 - Jan 5th, 2022
SESSION 2: MORNING CHECK-IN
It tastes like cheap hotel breakfasts but I am in desperate need of protein to fend off the ‘well your cheery idea from yesterday is shit, and what, you only wrote 1,700 words of crap?’ vibe. All normal and natural. My internal judge is mad because she’s scared and thinks the only way to be safe is perfection. I call her Bob. Sometimes Bob the Bitch.
‘Bob, honey. When calm, there is no editor better than you. But this is playtime, imperfection time, curiosity and silliness. Your time will come. The more you berate me, the longer it will take. Bye, boo.’
So, Day 2. Phone going into bottom of bag. Earphones on.
SESSION 2: EVENING ROUNDUP
✔️did a warm up writing exercise that involved me listing things I loved for ten minutes. Did not surprise myself one iota.
✔️transcribed half a 90 minute interview with a man who I will base an important character on, learning a lot about kumina in the process
✔️watched seven videos of the National Dance Theatre of Jamaica and made notes
✔️accessed Jamaica National Library, more academic spaces and ordered several books on traditional Jamaican folk music
✔️read paper on work songs during slavery
✔️made a copious ‘to do’ list and ‘might this mean something later’ list
✔️wrote 1083 words of another scene
😳if you listen to kumina drums all day, you must excuse yourself to truly dance and ‘wheel and tun’ in the bathroom
😳I am convinced kumina is hypnosis
😳 I never feel more African/Jamaican than when listening to kumina
🙄the 1083 words read like this: ‘cliche cliche cliche cliche cliche etc’
🙄I wrote all the good stuff in [my third novel] This One Sky Day, I shall never write a good word again ever
Today’s Writing Outfit is on the theme of These Boots Were Made For Walking
[Alt text: pic 1: full English breakfast - bacon, egg, beans, tomato, sausage; pic 2 - Leone full length wears a pink print frock with bright orange tights and yellow ankle boots; one arm akimbo]
SESSION 3 - Jan 6th, 2022
SESSION 3: MORNING CHECK-IN
So today might be the day I write a sentence I like…?
A comment from novelist, Yvonne Bailey-Smith, on my Instagram page: I hear you Leone. I sat at my desk earlier today and simply stared at the computer. The next sentence, word actually has got caught up in a traffic jam in my brain. I am going to do some ironing instead! And let me tell you I truly hate ironing. Roll on Tuesday when I’ll see my mentor who will hopefully remind me how to hold a pen.
[Alt text: pic 1: white writing table with objects: a white covid mask, pens, a packet of crisps, a small patterned drawstring bag, a very small edition of Alice In Wonderland; pic2: Leone, a light-skinned Black woman, peering happily into the camera, tasting her earphones; pic 3: Leone, wearing a happy orange frock, a selfie, right hand up in 'praise Jesus' pose]
SESSION 3: EVENING ROUNDUP
So my goal today was to write one sentence I liked. Among many other sentences, of course. It’s damn day 3, so expectations gotta be low and frankly, I didn’t expect to do it but I did. My pretty sentence!!🥰 It’s a good way to end writing week as despite the ongoing lurgy, I have other pro and personal things to do…
Other tasks completed:
✔️warm up exercise: a list of interesting objects - mine included an elephant saddle and a bone knife inlaid with marigold flowers
✔️copied out Jean Toomer stories word for word to connect with my own voice. I love Toomer and he makes me want to write…
✔️did a list of things I am excited to write about in this book 🥰Nothing says we have to write scenes in order of narrative. Better in order of delight.
✔️rocked my Citric Chick look: tangerine frock, lemon shirt, lime tights and blood orange shoes
✔️1,489 more words + 1 excellent sentence 😘
😳when the day comes to an end and you can’t see, you’re so tired, you know it’s gonna be oven chips and taramasalata dip for dinner
☺️ Also I needed to watch several episodes of the Vicar of Dibley to soothe myself.
🥳Writing Week 1: DONE 🥳
I have a protagonist, their partner, a place, a working time frame and 4,263 words that didn’t exist in the world before…
Let me know if y’all have any interest in hearing any more writing process rambles…
Responses from readers:
Very interested in the process, yes! One of the biggest joys of social media has been getting glimpses into the creation of books that I know I’m going to love!
Yes please keep sharing your rambles😂these are wonderful💙 6 w 🥳 whoop whoop great work. And yes to the process ramblings, please. 6 w Yes, I want to hear more! Always more! 7 w Please keep us informed. This narrative is an art form too. 7 Yes! Just so you know, these rambles make a good read too! Love all of this: such creative oomph. 6 w Yes!! I have a handful of goals too and your completing yours makes me want to do mine 😊 6 wd_covers I'm enjoying the glimpse into your writing process 6 w Love hearing your process. Please keep the updates/fantastic looks going. Very motivating as I started writing this week too📚🥰
Here for the rambles 🙋🏻♀️ 6 w Yes, more writing process rambles please, they are inspiring! 7 w Yes please! Tell us more 🙂 6 w BRING ON the rambles plz! 6 we93 Thank you for sharing these Leone, I’m really interested to read about how each day maps out for you. I’m writing my first novel and so I don’t have an ‘it’s ok - I’ve done this before and I got there in the end’ reference point; so often it can seem that I’m floundering with no end point in sight and no experience of how to get there. So - it’s really helpful for me to read about your process. Thank you! 6 I echo the rest here — would love to keep following you in this process! (Popisho was my most-loved read of this past year💛)
NOTE: Weeks 2-4 will be presented in bundles like this, and then I will be caught up and post individual days.