This is what I think every aspiring author needs to keep going – past the rocky outcrops, straight and true along the flat, balancing belongings overhead while wading through murky green streams, pressing forward through meadow grass and cleavers determined to cling to your clothes. Head down, we are in it for the long haul, and must ignore tempting side routes and diversions, and just keep pressing forward. Sometimes it’s a gallop, sometimes it’s a slog. C’est la vie.
I don’t think I am anywhere near a gallop – I would put my redrafting speed at somewhere between a trudge and a skip (skipudge? Trudgip?). I can see ways to be excited about chapter seven, but these ideas come to me at inappropriate times and by the time I am back in front of my home computer I am either a) knackered, or b) have lost my brain somewhere on the Metropolitan line. This week I spent one lunchtime sitting in Costa coffee with a print out and a red pen, and two evenings of puzzling over Word on the computer. And that is it! I have sorted out two pages of the fifteen that lurk in this chapter. I’m not even sure they are convincingly sorted out, more slapped with foundation and glitter eye shadow, and then left on the side with a margarita while I pay attention to the next bit.
I am also beginning to think of short story competitions… perhaps it would help me to think like an author if I actually got some fiction published in some way. I have been making surreptitious dives into google to see what lies beneath the surface in the guise of story awards, and there are definitely plenty out there to lure a writer. I’m making a list of the ones I think sound interesting, and any that have a deadline within the next two months. I’m not the greatest at short stories though – if ever I go to write a short story they usually turn into hefty devils, so it will require a whole new mind-set and construction technique (although hopefully less Bob the Builder than that sounds!). I also don’t want to cut down on my redrafting time, but perhaps working on a different story idea will help maintain the enthusiasm for the long haul.
And (stubs toe bashfully on ground), I do actually have a short story idea… a bit surreal though. I’m not sure whether you should write your short story first and then cast around for somewhere it seems to fit, or research everywhere and then write a story to fit a theme, or first line, or around a photograph. A lot of these competitions seem to be based around the latter idea, and I find it hard to write to order… most of my ideas come to me; I don’t initially seek them, at least not consciously. If I purposely try and make them happen I end up writing gloomy poetry about Life. Ah - but then I can at least enter that into poetry competitions…
The plot is thickening (said the girl with a lisp).