While I’ve just posted exciting news on the plans for a #vss365 anthology, I haven’t updated the blog on writing progression (or lack of it) for some time.
What have the last few months entailed? The tragic loss of a friend which hit me fairly hard as he was full of life, energy, fun and seemed, on the face of it, healthy and indestructible. His passing at 60 (no age, I am reminded) also made me think of losing my mum six years ago, when she was even younger than that.
This isn’t a morbid post, just an explanation of where I’m at and the things life throws at you.
Replacing writing with reading
I’m reading. A lot.
The most I’ve read is 30 books in a year (last year) and that felt like it was a push. This year, so far (April 8th) I’m at 37 books read.
This has been good for me, in many ways. Some of these books have been fiction. Some short. Some clocking in at nearly 1000 pages. Some of the most useful ones have made me think about writing and my relationship with it.
Some thoughts on writing a novel vs short fiction
My debut novel, Metropolitan Dreams, felt like a lifetime ago. It was hard, no question, but the power of that first novel kept me going.
Difficult second album blues? You betcha. This one was easier to write in draft format. Easier in many ways the second draft. But third and forth has sucked all the life out of me and I stare at the screen, fingers hovering over mocking keys and distract myself with other things.
But that weight is there. Pressing down on me. I sometimes feel like a gangster from a Scorsese film, like I’ve been buried under wet concrete in the foundations of a new road, I can feel the weight of the liquid concrete, my head is trying to find blue skies as the concrete hardens around me.
I’ll get it finished, and it’ll be worth it.
But I won’t be doing this again for a fair few years.
I want to feel that joy of writing flash fiction again. It’s immediate, it’s fresh, it’s constantly changing. I can be more experimental. I like the thrill of taking small word counts and building lives, cities, chance encounters, finding magical in the mundane and finding mundane in the magical. There is a buzz that lights me, an excitement I get when I think of a new idea, it’s a challenge.
In the wrong sport
I’m a gymnast trying to enjoy training for an ultra marathon.
When I read books from other writers (sure, I know not everyone feels like this), they express a profound joy at writing. An inescapable need to write. A release. A trip. A flow of creativity and an unbound license to visit wherever, and whenever the hell they like.
I’d dismiss this as first rate BS, but I’ve been there. I’ve felt it. It’s like almost nothing else.
It’s in the arrival of a new word prompt. In the deviousness of beating the word count and honing every single word. It’s in the challenge of immediate. It’s in the game of writing something for a specific purpose, then writing the next story, knowing full well that it could be linked, or a universe away from the previous one.
It’s in short fiction.
So, these are my writing plans:
- Finish Metropolitan Fear. It’s taken so long that the words I’ve written have (almost) started to come true. It’s taken so long that some TV shows have similar themes and it’s going to look like I copied them, when I didn’t. Plus… I don’t like things beating me. I need to finish it not just for me, but for others who have faith in me. Some people are actually waiting for it and keep asking me when it’ll be done.
- #vss365 anthology. It’s happening and I have a feeling it’s going to be massive.
- A possible (very personal) project. It’s a massive thing. Probably too big. Too intensive. So this might not happen, yet.
- Writing short stories.
- Possibly for competitions or publications
- Possibly for a new anthology on regional folklore
- Writing a ‘based on a true story’ book (not short fiction, granted, but I have brilliant source material).
So, there you have it.
I want to feel the joy of writing once more, and I might just make it happen.