What a writer must do

IMG_8173I haven’t been blogging because I have been writing. Since Cassandra was released (and for a while before that) my next big story has been knocking around in my head and very occasionally becoming actual written or typed words. I have written a few short stories and some flash fiction this year but on the whole, having a published book and the work that goes along with it has diverted me from writing.

At GenreCon last month I attended a workshop run by Anna Cambell called  “Writing Through the Fear.”  Surely everyone could see the fear on my face…

Anna asked us to write down the things that stopped us from writing. I wrote:

  • time and energy
  • the first sentence (the tyranny!)
  • fear that I can’t ‘do’ it again – in other words, finish a book I am proud of.

Essentially the workshop was a two-hour pep talk and just the severe talking to I needed. Many of us identified self-doubt. I wrote down this quote by Kurt Vonnegut:

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

That is exactly what starting a new writing project feels like.

So, my take away from the workshop was, write first thing in the morning – before the fear has woken up. I had nothing better to try.

It has been tough. Seriously some days I am lucky to get a sentence out before I have to stop and get ready for work. But for the rest of the day, the story is in my head, churning and festering and that is a good thing because I recognise the debris I need.  The man in the lift who looks like my antagonist. The smells, the sights, the sounds, the conversations ready to collect.

I have set myself the modest target of 1500 words a week. It’s not much but I am solid flat out at my day job and other life issues at the moment and 1500 x 52 weeks is 78 000 which is a novel.

A writer must write and today is Sunday and I have had the pleasure of writing and editing all day and into the night. My family has been neglected. My email has been neglected. Social Media has been neglected. My dogs are neglected. My garden is neglected. My friends are neglected. My tax agent has been neglected. My to-do list has been neglected.

All that neglect and the words are still not singing for me. But I know they will. Eventually.

I have jumped and the wings are sprouting.

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