Editing for me goes hand in hand with procrastination. It’s always something I struggle to find time to do, and struggle to do when I have the time! When it comes to short stories, I never know when to stop – they’re never quite good enough; there’s always a little more ‘fine tuning’ I can do. Short stories are one thing; novels are another. In November I managed to win ‘NaNoWriMo,’ and wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Many of them were rubbish words though! I didn’t write chronologically either, so my novel ended up consisting of a mishmash of scenes with huge gaping holes in them. I was, however, so relieved to have produced 50,000 words, that the quality of them didn’t seem so important at the time. I figured I’d leave the story for a while and come back to it later.
‘Later’ has become now. I still have a lot of content to add but I also need to do a massive amount of editing, and that is the tough part. I’ve got into the habit of writing a short piece then moving onto another immediately so I’ve now got a whole bunch of stories (in addition to my novel) that I need to go back to.
One thing I’ve come to realise is that completion is such an important part of the writing process, as important as getting the words down, but at the same time it’s necessary to know when the story is good enough to submit. I’ve got a few weeks off from work soon and I’m determined to edit all my ‘not-quite-ready’ stories as well as complete and sort out my novel. Hopefully Scrivener will help me with that!
Several years ago when I was trying to establish a writing routine, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it she suggests the practice of Morning Pages, whereby you do (longhand) three pages of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing every morning as soon as you wake up.
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand.
I ended up doing MP for many years and now have hundreds of ‘word-full’ diaries and exercise books, which, if nothing else, serve as a nice reminder of how messed up I used to be!
My latest ‘habit’ is 750 words, which has a similar premise but is done online. Like NaNoWriMo, it awards badges for reaching milestones, typing fast etc. and these little incentives, makes it a very easy practice to maintain. However, I’m trying to use it in a slightly different way to Morning Pages. If I’m starting a short story or a piece of flash fiction or a scene from my novel, I use it to brainstorm ideas or word sprints and honestly, it’s tremendously effective. Yesterday, I did a flash fiction which I’ve entered into a competition and today I worked out the idea for a short story which I need to submit in a couple of weeks. Try it – it might give you the inspiration you need!
Meet Polly, my baby :-).
One weekend last October, I decided to get a kitten. Although I’d grown up with cats, I’d never had my own but for some reason it felt right – it was a completely spontaneous decision.
Although I’m single, I wouldn’t say I was lonely, but I’d felt for a while that something was missing from my life, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Once I got Polly though, I realised immediately. It was the feeling of being able to give unconditional love, the feeling that a living being needed me and I hadn’t experienced that for a long time.
I’ve always been a very sociable person with many friends and interests but having Polly has grounded me and made me more mindful. It’s also made me think about how I choose to spend my time. Consequently, I stay in and write a lot more now and I no longer feel the necessity to go out just because it’s a Friday or Saturday night and it’s what everyone else does. Polly even helped me win my first NaNoWriMo, something I’d tried several times before, and I’ll be forever grateful to her for that!
I started a blog three years ago, with the intention of adding it to it regularly. That sadly didn’t happen. In part this was due to the fact that I used to have a natural tendency to procrastinate and put off doing things that I actually needed to do in order to achieve what I was capable of, hence I didn’t manage to sit down and work out how to blog and navigate WordPress. This will change in January. My purpose is to show to the world that I’m taking my writing seriously. I’ve dabbled in it for a while and have had some success, but I’ve never truly committed to it, probably due to a lack of confidence. I’m kind of hoping that if I write the blog, success will come, or personal fulfilment at least!
My main focus is short stories and flash fiction, mainly about relationships and interesting encounters and I’d love to think that people will read my work and it will help them to make a smidgeon more sense of their lives. Let’s see. I also ‘won’ Nanowrimo in November and am in the process of editing a hotch-potch of rather confusing scenes! Here’s to a happy, word full January. Cheers!