Welcome to Charlotte McConaghy who joins me for this week’s ‘At My Desk’.
Charlotte was first published at the age of 17 and since has released five novels, completed her Masters in Screenwriting, and last year won the prestigious Australian Writer’s Guild Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay of 2013. Talk about a busy woman! Please enjoy Charlotte’s guest post:
At My Desk
I get up late in the morning, wander around the house for a while, contemplate silly and depressing hypotheticals, traipse down to the shops for a coffee or two, look at the ocean and pretend I’m a wind-swept heroine from Game of Thrones who has real life adventures, slug back up the hill vowing to get fit tomorrow, waste some time watching tv online, read a few pages of a book… Waste some more time…
And then afternoon hits and I’m suddenly a completely different person. I can’t type quickly enough to keep up with my mind. On a good day I work all evening and late into the night. If I partake in the writer’s crutch—red wine—then I convince myself that I’m writing the most painfully emotional words known to man. I go to bed and can’t shut my mind off, which means I inevitably toss and turn and sleep late, and when I wake up I reread last night’s work with a sheepish, wry laugh of bemusement. Because they are not the most painfully emotional words known to man. They’re just… little bits of me, and I never know if they’ll be enjoyed by others, but that’s the hard bit, right? The trust you have to have in yourself, in your voice, the hope that someone will want to read your words and might one day enjoy them…
Sometimes I start with a character first. Sometimes I start with a world or a story. Sometimes I plan my novels, mapping out the key beats of action or the emotional arcs of my protagonist, but other times I don’t. Sometimes I just sit down and start writing whatever the hell comes out of my head—and in moments like these I hardly feel responsible for the words. In moments like these my characters teach me about themselves, and I learn from them.
Let’s be clear: I’ve been writing since I was 14, I’ve published five novels, and I still haven’t got it all figured out. I doubt I ever will. I have moments of doubt and inspiration. I get really, really tired. I have to input before I can output. I feel lonely. I am obsessed with stories. I fall in love with my characters one day and then am disappointed in them the next. I get assailed by moments of complete stubbornness—no, I will not write today, I refuse to be a slave to it! And then inevitably run to the computer—and like all writers I crave experience. I worry that I’m not spending enough time with my friends, my family, that I haven’t had enough adventures of my own. But every time I sit down to work, I feel incredibly lucky to have found the thing I am most passionate about, and despite it sometimes being a bit anguished, most of the time it’s actually just the best thing in the world.
The omnibus edition of Charlotte’s Fury series is out now: