My kick up the backside -- Jo Carroll

I’m doing a short, online course. For the purposes of this blog, I’ll not tell you which one - I may review it when it’s done, but right now we’re in the thick of it and it’s too soon for reflections. (Just in case any fellow-participants should drop by this blog, I never name or shame anyone! In fact I don’t write about anyone without their permission.)

No, the reason I’m raising it here is to highlight the reason I’m doing the course in the first place. I’m playing with another novel - it’s simmered for long enough and I must either write the wretched thing or give up and start something else. 

But I’m finding this beginning really hard. Not the first sentence - I’ve got that. What’s hard is settling into the obsession that comes with writing anything as big as a novel. Resistance takes the form of: additional research (including all the spin-offs, reading everything that is interesting but irrelevant), writing character monologues so I can get to know them better, then going for a long walk to think about them, reading how-to-write-a-novel books, reading novels to get ideas on structure ...

So the real reason for doing this course is to give myself a kick up the backside, reconnect with the discipline that enabled me to write The Planter’s Daughter -and remind myself how much I love it when I get going.

I think, at the moment, the course is doing what I need it to do. But I don’t believe I’m the only one to need these nudges from time to time. What do you do?

You can dip into my travel writing, and find out more about The Planter’s Daughter at


Umberto Tosi said…
I know the feeling. You can't get into the groove - until you do. Keep at it. Every step is a positive one. Even if it seems to have no effect, it builds pressure, I've found. Good luck with the workshop and with your novel!
Griselda Heppel said…
I so identify with this. Getting into the obsession - vital, but how on earth do you do it when struggling to deal with all those other demands on your heart and energy that only increase as you get older? I'm working on it...

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