Pressure – What Pressure?

In my opinion it’s always good to keep things in perspective and an important time is when you feel as an individual that you’re under pressure.  It doesn’t matter if it’s self-imposed, just as it can be a lot of the time being a writer – it’s still there bearing down on you.  For many years I’ve dealt with pressure by imagining how my case would match up to the circumstances that somebody else is dealing with.  I know it’s extreme, but if we go back to the days of gladiators I think we find a time where pressure on the individual was as real as it can get.

The Collisseum - Rome

My photo above shows the Collisseum as it looks now with it’s representative piece of rebuilt staging at one end.  Yes, it’s nice to get some idea of what it might have looked like, but the key area for me when I took the picture was the area below, where all those waiting to fight or be sacrificed would be spending some time.  Now that for me represents real pressure.

What’s my point, apart from stating the obvious?  I don’t believe that those of us who like to call ourselves writers produce a good result unless we put ourselves under some pressure.  Okay, I’m not suggesting I strip off, grab a trident, a net and go looking for a fully grown lion.  I apply my own pressure by keeping more than one project on the go.  Invariably it’s three short stories but at the moment things are a little different.

I have the novel writing competition I mentioned in my previous post, of which I’m now pleased to report I’m in control.   I’ve completely re-worked Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of my chosen entry, ‘Hawk, A Human Hunter’.  For the first time I’ve now also written a synopsis, which I found more difficult than rewriting the story.  Those two chapters and the synopsis are saved and stored for a week before I revisit them.  I’ve decided to get my mind focused deeper into the plot by continuing with the next logical chapters.  That should keep the story uppermost in my mind even if it’s not the competition chapters.

I’m also working on a short story for a web-based competition and a sci-fi short story and synopsis for another web-based competiton.  I wrote a poem yesterday about emotions and one today about the changing seasons.  I haven’t written poetry regularly since December.  I may ration myself to one or two verses a week so I can concentrate on my storytelling.  Apart from being creative writing in it’s own right I’ve found that writing poetry serves two other purposes for me.  First and foremost, it gets the brain cells warmed up and working.  Secondly the practical aspect of typing out the work gets me settled onto the keyboard in preparation for my other projects.

Apart from writing I’m delighted to report that Carmen, the fellow writer I’m mentoring is doing particularly well.  Her own writing has improved considerably in just a couple of months but her proof-reading of my work is demonstrating that she has that all important eye for detail we all wish we had.  I must admit that I sometimes find things like figures slip through the editing net.  Those occasions when in my haste to write or rewrite I overlook ‘3’ when it should be ‘three’ or ‘four thousand’ when it should be ‘4,000’.  I’m getting better, but Carmen is proving to me I am still careless on occasion.  So I’ll take this opportunity to say a big public ‘thank you’ to my distant friend.

In between all the other activities, like any writer worth his (or her) salt, I’m also reading.  I’m about half way through ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,’ which I downloaded onto my Kindle a few days ago.

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One comment on “Pressure – What Pressure?

  1. First of all, thank you for giving me way too much credit for the little ‘errors’ I found on one of your first drafts. In danger of starting an ‘admiration society’ I must say that what you do with writing has impressed me not only with the quality of your writing, but also by the careful sense of organization that you use with your writing. Anyone who has attempted to write a novel knows that being able to turn thoughts and ideas into a cohesive and well organized novel is a staggering feat…probably comparable to a gladiator’s work, although not as bloody, usually. Now you are working on editing a novel, writing synopsis of the novel and of a short story while keeping up with all your other projects definitely would be understating the pressure you are under by comparing yourself with what went on at the coliseum. All those people had to worry about was staying alive. Let’s not forget that you also have a job, a house, a wife, and a son to keep happy.

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