I’m all set to embark on next month’s novel. My working pattern for the next few months involves me caning work for three, four days followed by three, four days off. Up until now, I’ve approached novel writing by simply writing each day until the work is complete. This time, it’ll be sustained bursts, interspersed by going back to work for a wee rest before sinking my teeth into it again. Which is great – it feels like the first time all over again.

This time, I’ve completed dossiers for my four main characters and just collected photographs for the minor characters and all my settings. (How was this possible before we had the masturbation superhighway?)

I’m experiencing the usual pre-novel trepidation: does this plot hang together? Are these characters believable/involving/deep enough? And, of course, that perennial favourite, how the fuck can I find sufficient shirt-elastic to somehow squeeze out more than fifty thousand words??? In a month??? Sweet Christ, I’m not up to this enormous task – oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me, thy misshapen servant???

None of these fears will have any impact on my output over the next month. It’s pre-match nerves, nothing more. Once I get started, I know that new ideas will spurt out like puke from a kicked tramp. I feel confident that my mind will disgorge plenty of stuff I haven’t even considered yet. Once I start hammering my notes into shape, the gaps I find will suggest solutions and workarounds and the novel will take shape under its own steam.

The best moments whilst writing (for me, anyway) are when the plot just sort of unfolds and all I do is immerse myself in the in-skull movie, transcribing it as fast as I can as it effectively writes itself. It’s a trance-like state that’s enjoyable enough while I’m going through it. And after it’s over, I can pat myself on the back for how brilliant I am. Win-win.

I’m slightly overhung as I write this, (29 vii 14) leading me to believe that I’ll shit this draft out a lot more easily if I increase my alcohol-free days to seven or eight per week. Which may or may not happen, it’s hard to tell from here.

And I’ve started on the B-vitamins (yesterday). I’ve done this the last couple of times and it does seem to improve things, forcing my brain (such as it is) into ‘clever’ mode.

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