Sunday, 15 December 2013

Writer vs Storyteller

This post comes two weeks after my last, which is the longest gap I have left since starting this blog back in April. My original plan had been to post three times a week. This soon dropped to twice a week. Not long after that it reduced again to just one post a week. So what now - fortnightly updates?

First and foremost, I am a novelist. The blog is only an extension of my chosen career path. It has been due to a hectic period of writing the first draft of a new novel that has recently slowed my blog output. You see, writing a novel requires a full time commitment and something, somewhere has to give eventually. I have had to scale back the blog and other social media activities to ensure that my books get as much of my time as possible. The question that I have to ask myself is - how much time is enough?

One or two hours per night is about the most that I can devote to writing at the moment. At that rate the novel will take years to complete, which is significantly more than the 6 months that I was hoping for the first draft. If I am going to reach my target, I cannot afford to spend time sitting at a blank screen waiting for the words to come. I need to be productive.

The reason that I am hopeful of reaching my target is that although I have extremely limited time for writing, writing is only a very minor part of creating a book. In fact, writing is not important at all. Novelists are not writers. We are storytellers and there is a difference. The plot of a book is not created by putting pen to paper or tapping away at a keyboard. Stories are created in the imagination.

I may only have those two hours to write, but I have every other hour that is available to come up with my story. I think about it over breakfast. I think about it on the journey to work. The mundane nature of my job means that I spend a large portion of the day thinking about my stories too. And then for those two hours each night I get to transcribe those thoughts from the day.

A writer has tight deadlines and so little time, but a storyteller has all of the time in the world. Even in our dreams, we can find inspiration. Take this blog post. It was not created at a keyboard. That was merely the means by which I was able to share it with an audience. The words and the thoughts that make this post were actually created an hour ago when I was in the shower.

You don't need a pen and paper to create stories. You need only your imagination and that is something that you can take with you anywhere.

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