I haven’t posted anything in a while for several reasons; lack of inspiration is one, but also, and more importantly, I have started to write a novel, I think … I hope.
It’s over ten years since I began writing regularly, and I’ve tried lots of methods to get me to do so on a consistent basis; writing courses and groups, ‘how to’ books, and setting whole days aside to write, yet suddenly finding a lot of other stuff to do. Reading is my worst vice and primary means of procrastination.
I managed to write about 17,000 words of a very personal story many years ago, but looking back at it now, it’s incredibly naively written and on reflection, not something I want to publish. So continuing to develop that wasn’t an option. Over the years I have had more success with short stories, often for courses, but none of them held my attention or imagination for long; all except one. A short piece I created during a writing course, which I had spent hours on and felt would surely be well received. However, the very low mark it was given devastated me. I couldn’t understand. I had put so much into it. How could it have been so bad? I have recently gone back to the tutor’s comments and realised they were not wrong in their assessment of my work. I hadn’t fulfilled the brief, which was to write a short story. Instead, I had written the prologue to a much larger world, and that was why I had received a low score.
Reading through the story again, I began to feel inspiration returning. What if I could develop this? So for the last few weeks I have been trying to write every evening, Monday to Friday for at least half an hour, without editing or reading back through my work. I’m only about 2,000 words in, so have an extremely long way to go and am already fighting thoughts of giving up. I am very good at starting projects, but also equally poor at finishing them; losing interest as another new plan enters my head. The current piece I am trying to develop is something I have written small strands of over many years since that first one, so I am hopeful it will sustain my flirtatious mind until the end. If I can just get the first draft out, then at least I will have something to work on and improve. Every time I sit down to write, I have to ignore the inner critic bemoaning my lack of talent, and also the usual tactics used to avoid writing.
I have therefore decided not to read any fiction until I am finished. I don’t want to be distracted by the call of someone else’s world. I only want to hear mine calling to me; and I am happy being there all by myself until hopefully one day, others can join me.
I have also chosen not to discuss the content of the story with anyone. Many books and articles I have read over the years have given this advice, but only now am I putting it into practice. However well-meaning a comment from a family member or friend may be, it can derail you. It’s better to tell them to wait until it’s finished and you can hand them a copy of the book itself.
So my posts may be a little sparse for some time. However, I’ll definitely blog if I go for any inspiring walks, or visit somewhere of interest. I’ll try and get a few photos up too, and may up date you all on my novel writing progress.