I was reminded of this fantastic song (‘I turn on the tap but the water’s too loud’) by Squeeze while listening to David Lasserson’s version for jazz viola (click listen now, then scoot to 8.58 on this link if you can get it).

And then, with magical synchronicity, I woke up with a bastard of a hangover this morning.  Only I hadn’t been drinking.

Cue Twilight Zone theme.

I know it sounds weird, but I’ve been writing about 3,000 words a day for the past week.  Which, for the non-word-count-literate among us, is a whole lot of words. And in case you think I’m gloating, I’m not. It’s just that it’s such a relief, after dragging the last book out kicking and screaming over two long years.

The new book is flying. And it keeps zigging and zagging in ways that surprise me.

It’s got almost no plan.  I didn’t even know what it was going to be about until I wrote the first sentence. It doesn’t have a title.

And I still don’t know exactly what it’s about.  But it’s telling me. Getting stranger and darker as it emerges.

Strong stuff.

The hangover?  I swear it’s from too much writing — too much throughness. Keeping that conduit open is hard on the brain.

Gotta be that. There’s no tequila left in the house.

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21 thoughts on “When The Hangover Strikes….

  1. kathryn evans 6 years ago

    You’ve clearly steamrollered your own brain – lack of procrastination – here, have some of mine….( or might be lack of sleep – always does for me….)

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      Oh no no no. No shortage of procrastination in this house, thank you very much!

  2. K M Lockwood 6 years ago

    Darker and stranger – I like the sound of this! Dang the headaches and write it , woman.

  3. Stroppy Author 6 years ago

    I know just how you feel! Up late writing last night and up at 6 this morning. Plague dead and vampires are swarming around me. I feel sick and depressed and shaky. Do you think we have discovered a new medical condition?

  4. Catdownunder 6 years ago

    Well there are definite withdrawal symptoms if I cannot write for some reason. I think Stroppy is right – it is a new medical condition and possibly the only cure is more of the same!

  5. Caroline Coxon 6 years ago

    Can you judge, do you think, if your BEST work is the dragged kicking and screaming stuff, or if it’s the try and stop me bursting out of your brain stuff?

    I’m rather hoping it might be the former since that is my preferred style.

    When I say ‘preferred’…

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      That’s such a good question, Caroline. And I don’t really know the answer. I don’t think it’s quantifiable. After all, who’s judging ‘best’ anyway? The market? Your editor? Surely not yourself? I can never tell about anything I write. I think there’s no right answer. They can be equally good. Look at Mozart vs Beethoven — Mozart just gushed the things in his head down on to paper verbatim, while Beethoven revised and revised and revised. And revised. So who’s better?

  6. Kit Berry 6 years ago

    Ooh yes, Meg – I know it exactly. I’m whitewater-rafting through the final draft of my novel, with tight deadlines to hit, and I’m living and breathing it. It’s taken me over like a great leech, sucking the life from me until I feel quite ill. Looking forward to reading the outcome of your non-alcholic hangover!

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      Isn’t it funny….people never really think of writing as physical, but it can be so exhausting. Wish it toned up my arm muscles at the same time though.

  7. Joyce Owens 6 years ago

    Can’t say I’ve experienced this condition writing . . . which for me is more like a dental experience – as you well know, Meg. However, a good design session is a time when I withdraw into my head and what comes out in my hands can be surprising and astonishing. Personally, I design buildings in blocks of time – four to five days, not an hour here or there – doesn’t work. And then there is a CRASH – I’m exhausted and weak but happy. Oh the creative mind.

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      Buildings, books, paintings, whatever. I think it’s all the same.

  8. Sharon Creech 6 years ago

    I, too, get writing hangovers. Write like a speed demon for four days and then–tho I might want to go on–my brain implodes. My body aches.

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      It’s funny — I’ve never heard people talk about this. But it’s obviously not just me. I always feel guilty napping after a particularly violent bout of writing (it does sometimes get ugly). Maybe I should start going to a thinking gym….

    2. Amanda 6 years ago

      tee hee… the ab-blaster for thoughts…
      or is it …contemplate Derrida for 10 reps, then Dr Seuss for 5 min, then some Eckhardt Tolle to get your flabby thoughts into shape? And do thoughts look better in evening wear afterwards? Or is that only with a spray-on tan?

  9. Amanda 6 years ago

    “As an ancient proverb says, three fingers hold the pen, but the whole body works. And aches.” – The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco

  10. Kirsten Baron 6 years ago

    I’m curious about the question of quality posed by Caroline Coxon above. As we have to wait till AUGUST (dogdammit) to sample the latest, dragged-screaming novel – could you tell us which of your other novels flowed, and which ones resisted?

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      If it helps, Dog is getting some pretty excited early notices, but then, all writers say that. The bastard book before this one was Just In Case — difficult in many of the same ways, and also based on an idea rather than just a vague journey. The easiest were How I Live Now and What I Was. Bride, easyish, with a bit of a spanner.

    2. Meg 6 years ago

      p.s. in about a week, There Is No Dog bound proofs will start showing up on e-bay…..

    3. Kirsten Baron 6 years ago

      Thanks for telling! I suspected that Bride’s Farewell might have been an easy one, it has a kind of beautiful natural flow to it. But as you know, my top favourite is Just In Case, so it looks like the quality is not affected by the process.
      Oh, and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of There Is No Dog. No birthdays in our family in August, so I’ll actually get to keep this one for myself…

    4. Meg 6 years ago

      Yay! Might be the first sale….

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