Friday, January 1, 2010
Wring out the old
Sorry this is a long one, I usually like to keep things snappy! Note the vicar - he was on the news recently. Google St Matthew's in the City! - Andrea at Rainbow notebook, I'll try and get a front shot in another time!
2009 was a whirlwind of a year for me, both personally, privately and for my writing. You could say I've been through the wringer! Done a brief inventory and discovered something pretty unbelievable - I wrote (this does not mean they are "finished") fifty poems in 2009, thirty poems in the month of December alone! Would love to post them up here but I'm going to overcome my submission fear and send them out to some ezines and journals etc when they are right.
As well as the poetry there was the flash and short fiction (and some of my flash merges with my poetry but I keep it separate): I wrote fifty stories and gathered together what I hope can become my first collection - no news is good news, right? Plus, I sent a couple of things to competitions. I even managed to make myself cry with a couple of stories!
I also wrote a novel. Back in May/June I wrote a novel set in my old home town - to exorcise it I suppose and allow me to move on. It's a good story and an easy read with a linear narrative and a lyrical style and a funny protagonist. It's also an allegory. It took me four weeks to write 80,000 words (and no, it isn't a load of hits) and almost killed me! The bones of the story had been with me for some time and allowed me to do a chapter by chapter breakdown of the plot and, essentially, write a chapter per night. At weekends I would work on it for twelve hours per day and it was both the easiest and hardest thing I have accomplished. It served it's purpose. I no longer have any urge to revisit any aspect or elements of my home town in a novel! I am cleansed! What it also "taught" me, however, was that I want to write more complex novels. My first novel was/is quite complex and I think my lack of success with that had put me off a little, made me think I should go more mainstream, but you know what, I am who I am and I write what I write and so I'm back to writing just for me: and it feels good. It feels very good.
As soon as I decided that a stack of books lifted off my shoulders and left me with a spanky new dust jacket.
I'm going to take my time with my latest WIP - not because I think I've earned it (incidentally, I do think I should have some sort of holiday - offers on a postcard!) - but because I want to savour it. I want the words I commit to it to be the very best I can for the words' sake as well as the narrative's. It's proving to be a challenge, in every sense, to me. I am struggling with a lot of numbers on a weekly basis and I, as I've blogged before, am not bedfellows with numbers. And that brings me to another point...
...For the past year I have been writing on my bed! Since my son became active I haven't been able to leave my writing laying about all over the place and have had to decamp to my bedroom (oh, to have a bigger house - come on agents, make those publishers buy my books!). It's not ideal: it's not even comfortable (really, you should try it: the sheer perversity of being on your bed and not sleeping....), and my back aches and my bottom gets nins and peedles far too frequently.
I wanted to go into 2010 with a more balanced approach to writing, less like a learner driver - gas/breaks/gas/breaks ... - I may not be able to change my personality but I have got more defined and realistic goals, ones which don't put so much pressure on me to be a writing machine, don't need so much grease or un-clogging, and allow the words to sparkle.
Part of me will always talk to that kid who was kicked, spat on, followed home and pushed in the gutter and had her clothes drawn on, and part of me will listen to her telling them, the kids that did that to her "thanks - you made me", but there's another part developing, one who doesn't need the mother of the past. In 2009 I cut the umbilicus.
I started blogging in May to present myself to the world as a writer. I felt like a bit of a fraud, after all I had nothing published. Looking back at how much I have written, however, I think I can call myself a writer now.
Nothing is as it was at the beginning of 2009 but for one thing; last year my resolution was to find an agent and get published. This year it's the same. You still up for a ride?
PS I can't swim and I failed my driving test six times! I can also hum the theme to Black Beauty whilst tongue galloping! - Bet you thought I'd forgotten - or maybe you had?
PPS - why did no one tell me I had missed the "a" out of beauty? Some critics you lot are! Ha! Changed it now. Must remember to spell check more!