Trying To Breathe


This has been a challenging week: only a handful of sentences constructed in between puffs on the inhaler. Last week I had either a head cold or some nebulous virus and as usual it curled around my lungs like undettered ivy. As I become older, the asthma is becoming heavier, and this time it knocked me for six; I hardly had the strength for anything last Thursday, Friday or Saturday. On a short walk to a friend’s house, I had to turn around and go back for the car, although I didn’t feel too guilty about this since it’s electric; but thankfully, after a trip to the doctors, another visit to the chemists, and a few well chosen poses on the yoga mat, I began to breath a little easier.

Anyway, I have been both progressing and fine tuning in fits and starts: it all hangs on those first three chapters; and even if it takes months and months to complete the second draft, I want to make sure the first three chapters are exceptionally polished so I have something to offer agents later next year. I have also been thinking about one of my main characters and how I need to develop him more. This will be a good excuse to buy a new note book and fill it with the details of his life: his schooling; his jobs; his relationships; and most of all, his deepest motivations. From feedback I’ve received, I am told he is already quite a rounded character, but I want to delve further still. To be honest, I’ve a little bit of a crush on him; I feel very much drawn to his struggle. Focusing on him has also reminded me that I could do with updating the Pinterest board I’d set up for my characters. I began this when I first started writing my novel over a year ago. Let me know what you think. I found it very helpful in imagining their physical appearance, but then became lost in writing the story; always the way eh?  I do want to complete it though: unfinished projects make me rather twitchy.

So aside of all the wheezing and rasping, this week hasn’t been the most productive. I have read – I’m currently working my way through Brick Mother by SJ Bradley, my mentor, and the very funny Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss – and I have always counted reading as writing time, but I would have preferred to have produced more words; the last seven days have been a tad lean. It hasn’t been much fun being out of breath; at least some oxygen is gaining access now and my energy levels are returning. In the midst of it all, I treated myself; I bought myself a subscription to Writers Magazine.

Writing Bubble

25 responses

  1. So sorry to hear how much trouble your asthma has been giving you, Sarah.
    I have just popped over to look at your Pinterest boards and now I am even more curious!!
    I agree with you about polishing these crucial three chapters and taking your time to do it.
    Had to smile at the new notebook, I was just thinking yesterday that I need a dedicated notebook for ideas/character development. 😉
    I am heading to the Frankfurt Book Fair tomorrow and Thursday, very much looking forward to it. 🙂 xx

    • It hasn’t been much fun but finally I have it under control now. I hope you had a great time at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and you got lots from it. You can never have enough notebooks! X

  2. Sorry to hear about your asthma (although I did love the way you described it as “curled around my lungs like undettered ivy”). It sounds like you’ve done well to do as much as you have with that going on.

    I’ve just popped over to your pinterest board – I like the idea of fleshing out characters by finding pictures ‘of them’. I keep thinking maybe I should join pinterest but then it feels like another thing – another social media distraction – but seeing you use it this way (and how Iona used it in her post last week) makes me think it could be worth a go.

    It sounds like your main character is going to be the most well rounded character ever after all the attention you’ve lavished on him!

    Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

    • Thankfully, I have it under control now :o). I’ve found it helpful matching actors to my characters. It’s helped to visualise their faces. Pinterest also helped me to pull together details of the story’s various settings too. I would recommend it. Very much enjoying #WhatImWriting. X

  3. Sorry to hear you have been struggling with your asthma. It must be horrible having to deal with that on a day-to-day basis. I did a similar thing in terms of finding pictures that I felt represented a couple of my characters. It helped me to visualise them.

  4. Yes, I rather liked your description-made my chest feel tight just reading that! Sorry that it’s been so tough, I can only imagine how much of a struggle it makes things.
    I love your idea of the character Pinterest board-that’s something I can definitely see being a useful tool for me too 🙂
    And i totally agree with you that reading time is also writing time x

  5. So sorry to hear you’ve been suffering with your asthma, miserable. I found this post really interesting. Having not written much fiction (yet), I did write a piece last week, and I had the clearest picture of what the character looked like. I could see her face, her hair, see her wrapping a pashmina around her shoulders to keep out a draught, see her smile. I hadn’t thought before about visualising characters so strongly, but found that it just happened. Much like the piece of writing itself! #whatimwriting

    • I am feeling better now, thank you. That’s great that you had such a clear picture of your character. I have more of a ‘sense’ of my characters and then try to match that with actors or some other face…

  6. Sounds like you’ve had a really tough week – glad you’re starting to be able to breathe more easily now! I’m intrigued by your Pinterest boards – I really need to find the time to explore it as a resource. And to read more too. There just aren’t enough hours in the day! x

  7. Poor you, it’s hard to concentrate on writing when your health isn’t perfect, I hope you feel better soon. Good luck with working on your character, I love Pinterest for writing ideas!

  8. Sorry to hear about your asthma troubles. I went through a tough time a couple of years ago but it seems to have subsided for me again. I guess I’m lucky. Hope you’re feeling better soon.
    Being ill really can throw your writing off so I hope you are able to get back to the writing too. Sometimes just thinking about our characters can progress the story in ways we didn’t expect so don’t write that time off.

    • I am feeling better now but regularly using my inhaler to keep myself on the straight and narrow. Being ill definitely throws your writing off BUT like you say, it gives you time for thinking about your characters instead. I don’t think there is any such thing as wasted time!

  9. Crappy week. Hope you’re feeling better now! Reading time is writing time and every word counts. I think having the first three chapters as perfected as you can get them is a particularly good idea if you’re planning on submitting.
    Here’s to a better week this week for you x

    • Tell me about it! I think continually working on those first three chapters while working on the rest of the draft is important as you never know what opportunity might come along! X

  10. Love your idea of creating pinterest boards for your characters. Might steal the idea 🙂 I realised recently how much I need to get back into writing. Proper writing, way beyond the odd blog post… There’s a sequel waiting to be written. xx
    I hope you are feeling better by now!

    • Go for it…. steal away :o). It really helped me to visualise my characters. Well now you have moved and you know where you are with your yoga, it’s time to get back to the writing again! X ps, yes, feeling much better.

  11. Pingback: #Whatimwriting October Round-up - The Muddled ManuscriptThe Muddled Manuscript

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