If writing is a pond, mine is stagnant. So, how to get an oxygenating stream of words? The answer of course is to write – the only cure. Fortunately, writing isn’t like downing a glass of medicinal minerals, like those foul tasting spa waters that claim to revitalise the system. Once you begin, it’s pleasurable – even after a single sentence.
In the last weeks, I’ve persuaded myself that all sorts of activities support my writing when I’m not putting words on the page:
Sitting in cafés – no, it’s not about eating lovely Sicilian pastries and drinking Italian coffee with cream – the purpose of frequenting cafés is for people-watching to find characters and situations. Of course it is.
Reading – I’ve the Fish anthology to finish and the rest of Stinging Fly and it is good to learn from others, isn’t it?
Tweeting – There are great competition and submission opportunities out there and I like to read and retweet those links. But summer competition deadlines have passed me by and the autumn ones are fast approaching…
Talking about not-writing to writer friends. Stirs the pond and can bring activity but also more sludge. Especially if I compare myself adversely to them.
Organising writing events for one of my writing businesses. I run Writing Events Bath with my friend, Alex Wilson. I love this activity. I get to attend all these events and learn from them. We’ve a great workshop coming up on October 6th at Mr B’s bookshop Bath, with author and writing tutor, Trish Nicholson on writing a non-fiction book and one on October 19th at The New Oriel Hall, Bath with marvellous novelist Lucy Christopher on writing young adult fiction. On November 29th, literary agent, Lucy Luck who represents writers Kevin Barry, Colin Barrett and rising star, Danielle McGouglin amongst many others is coming to give feedback to writers pitching their story collections or novels. But I don’t need to wait for these inspirational occasions to write
Giving feedback on writing. My husband writes poetry and listens to my suggestions (sometimes!) I should write something and show him. He gives great feedback.
Organising The Bath Short Story Award with friends and writing companions, Jane and Anna. This year’ s anthology of selected stories is at the printers and we have a wonderful new judge for next year’s competition which is launched on 1st November. We set up the Award to encourage writers, but it should encourage us too!
But hey – it’s a good writing day so far. Only 7.00 am and I’ve already taken the blog-writing part of The Cure. I’ve a writing prompt book next to me and opening at a random page, I found the following: Write a fragment of a story about a character in a desperate situation…They have to talk themselves out of the situation like Scherheraszade – 600 words. Begin now …
p.s. 11.35 am. I did it. I’ve written more than 600 words of this fragment and it does have the makings of quite a good story. And I’ve done ironing, responded to several emails, eaten breakfast, had an argument, pulled up some weeds and now it’s sunny out there…