Write Back Where I Belong

Week One Of The Comeback Is Complete

Well if the tax year started last week, then why shouldn’t the writing year, or for that matter the running year.

Running

Ahhh, the running year has got off to a hobbling start. I did go for a run on Tuesday. I quickly, and sadly, learned that my toe, foot thing definitely hasn’t healed. Luckily it only hurts when I use it……

Trying to be positive though, I can still do all the non weight bearing stuff in the gym and have swam a startling number of lengths during the week. I know I’m lucky to still be able to use my energy and I’ll wait for an actual medical professional to diagnose my foot rather than using Dr Google!

Writing

Monday: I finished writing, edited and published a blog post. It is the first self reflection on my writing for, oo, too fucking long. Clicketyclick HERE to have a butchers.

Tuesday: I pulled out a piece of flash fiction, or is it a short story, which has been working its way to the front of my consciousness for a week or so. Its working title is Why I Became A Grass and it was sparked by an unusually quiet shop I regularly walk past which appears to be thriving without ever seeming to have a customer!? about 700 words drafted.

Wednesday: I gave up on any notion that there isn’t something wrong with my fucking foot. In it’s last hurrah we finally got all the baby stuff in the loft and moved the electric piano upstairs. Phew!!

Anyway, a bit more work on the piece I was writing yesterday. Just another 500ish words today.

I’m pleased to say, he bloomin’ loves the library.

Thursday: reached 1700 words in my short story / flash fiction and called it 1st draft. It’s got a couple of lead characters, a bit of a story and a sort of truth running through it. I will return and edit and then consider 1st readers.

Also on Thursday, I spent some time reading poetry craft books. We took our youngest grandson, Charlie, to the library and managed to find a few books for myself as well as him! I’ve remembered that I appeared in an anthology last year and have had a couple of pieces featured here and there. So, with a motivational “c’mon Kevin!” I’m making the most of every moment to get some words scribbled.

Friday: I started a random stream of consciousness project on Scrivener. Some of the writing I’ve enjoyed most has started using this method. I just set a timer and write the words that appear in my head for 20 minutes or however long is available to me. I have to thank the brilliant Writers HQ for getting me into using the timer. I set the timer on my phone and then put it on the other side of the room. I find I can get into a zen like state and my writing becomes meditative. So much so, I’m often shocked and disappointed when the time is up! This particular project started with me typing “I need to be less easily distracted” and finished with a pretty strong story idea set around a massive clock in a railway station.

Saturday: I set about preparing to collate all the pieces I’ve written so far towards my novel. I started scribbling around with it (working title Dogs That Don’t Look Like Their Owners) in 2018. It has been a hit and miss affair as regards making progress, but I worked through the Plotstormers course on Writers HQ, trying to put the parts I have written into some sort of order. And now I’m using their First Draft modules to help me build up some momentum. If the first draft of DTDLLTO is to be 90,000 words or so, I need to write an average of about 400 a day if I’m to have a body of work ready for editing by the end of the year. Doesn’t sound like much……….

Sunday: I guess this was contemplation day!

My journal is still getting its daily words too and, you know what, I’m really enjoying my writing again. Which is all I really need from it.

In the words of the great A.L. Kennedy, onwards………..

Fight For Your Write

One Word At A Time

It doesn’t matter what I am attempting in life: To progress, to proceed, to move on, to enjoy for goodness sake, there has to be a positive force behind me. That could be as clichéd as the wind literally at my back when I’m running. It could be the metaphorical wind at my back when I’m writing.

I need good, healthy energy. And a clear, even empty mind.

Distractions need to stop being distractions.

The dust and rubble of life’s challenges, the shroud of despair at news I can’t influence and the frustrations of everything I haven’t done, they all keep that wind from my back.

The writer in me gets buried beneath the clutter all too often. I know this, and I know it is mostly of my own making.

I cannot change what I haven’t yet done. Frustrations at my missed opportunities need to be acknowledged, but then forgotten.

Learn. Move on. Simple.

The great man back in the day.

The first draft of this blog post was written long hand, in my notebook, whilst munching on a avocado, red pepper and lettuce bagel, wedged in my work van, taking my lunch break. Just typing this paragraph gives me momentum, positivity, that clichéd wind in my sails!

The habits of 2020 and 2021 are returning. In both my reading and my writing. Take a bow Stephen King, because your gorgeous memoir and craft volume, On Writing, has yet again invigorated me. I own a well thumbed copy which has been devoured over and over. Not only that, On Writing has been my aural companion in the van for the last few shifts. Narrated by the great man himself too.

I’m hardly a fan boy, nor a religious devotee of King’s novels, but I know bloomin’ great writing when I see it. On Writing has fanned the winds of change at my back and I am letting it carry me.

A quick word for A.L. Kennedy’s writing craft volume of the same name too. A wonderful book which I’ve also devoured a few times.

Mobile telephone habits had started creeping back in, I was sinking into a “what’s the feckin’ point?” mood too regularly and spending far too long enacting the scroll of doom. I’ve got an app now which monitors my phone use and pings embarrassing messages on to the screen. These shame me into putting the thing down. It’s working too, I’m still keeping up to date with my little Twitter world, but avoiding getting sucked down an angry hole full of internet gloom.

I think about writing a lot. Nibbly, scratchy and proddy ideas whisper, or even shout sometimes, at my subconscious. These all keep me moving forward if I embrace them. The muse is back! Never went away really, I was just letting the bugger become idle. No more though, if he (or she or they) want to reside in my soul, then there is rent to pay. The rent is handed over in the currency of ideas, and there is no limit to how much I’ll accept.

Grandson, Charlie checking my notes.

All this enthusiasm returning to me and my writing is almost overwhelming. Previously, I might have got carried away with myself. Another lesson I’ve learned is to temper my short term ambitions. I do have a tendency to lose all sense of reality if I have a good day. “Excellent, I’ve written a thousand words, The Booker Prize will surely be mine next year“! That sort of thing.

If I have a flying thousand word day, I now bank it, but will happily settle for just a few notes in my journal the following day if that’s what time allows for.

Alison Kennedy is a bit of a hero of mine!

As Stephen King would answer in an interview “How do I write? One. Word. At. A. Time.”

Nicky, (regular readers will know Nicky through the gushing romantic references, prolifically scattered throughout my blog posts) my amazing lady wife, has always been 100% behind my writing ambitions and is frustrated on my behalf if I get stuck in a gloomy dead end. It is at best naïve and forgetful and at worse unfair and ungrateful for me to blame ‘family pressures‘ when my writing slows or stalls. Hell, even my brother eagerly offered to be a first reader. Nope, my family have my back, and I’d do well to remember that in darker times.

Some days are mostly fully booked before I get to add in ‘my’ goals. But if I’m honest they’re probably only 75% pre booked, even on the busiest days. The problem comes when I misuse the other 25% by wallowing and shouting at the unfairness of everything on the internet. Just accepting these truths helps, even the act of typing this gets me determined to be more focussed on being productive in the time windows which open up for me.

In our spare room we have bunk beds, a turbo trainer, more books shelves, AND A DESK! If I don’t want to be disturbed, why not go and sit at it!?

King is ruthless. He encourages us all to write, but offers no secrets, no hacks, no ‘cheats’, but insists “If you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well.

A big up too for Writers HQ, their courses, blogs, writers’ tools and resources are arranged, as they say, to fit in with “bad ass writers with no time or money“! For a mere score (£20) each month you get access to everything they have to offer. I always try to do their snappy short course each month and have ongoing work-in-progress folders for some of their longer offerings. Checking in with Writers HQ once a day helps to wobble my head and prompt new thoughts and ideas.

What am I actually working on then?

I’ve got a flash fiction piece I’m batting around and there’s some new content appearing in my Scrivener which could well find its way into the novel (which I’ve only been working in for 4 years now!).

I like the idea of a regular blog post updating where my writing is at. It is the first week of April, the first week of the 2nd quarter of the year and it feels like I’m lining at the start of something.

What does that mean in reality?

We’ll have to wait and see.

Whatever progress I make this coming month, it’ll be………

ONE. WORD. AT. A. TIME.