Without meaning to – or setting off with the intention of, I found myself wandering through the streets of the centre of Cairns today thinking about writing. Perhaps what started it off was some internal digging for my Write Anything article for tomorrow. But I think it probably has to do more with trying to find a sense of balance again.
What I realised were a few things.
1. Good-bye Non-Fiction
For quite a while now I’ve been dedicating lots of time to writing things I don’t relish with a passion. Not surprisingly – all of it is non fiction work. It is unpaid, it has been building up the website of other people and after a conversation with my sister and Mum yesterday, I’m biting the bullet and sethering ties with my non fiction writing gigs. What was the sticking point was remembering some advice from a writing course earlier on this year – where we were told if you want to write novels – write novels. So why the hell am I writing non fiction when I want to be writing ficiton?
2. I need to write every day.
Yesterday while Dylan was playing at a park I remembered I had my QWC magazine tucked in my bag. I went through and looked at the competitions coming as well as the writing opportunities. One particularly caught my eye.
Long Short Stories is a project of Affirm Press to publish six collections of short stories in 2010 by single authors. The work is to be between 40,000 and 70,00o words and can include flash and short stories, novellas and “bits of narrative which defy categorisation”.Delia Falconer writes in the preface of the Best Australian Short Stories of 2008 that Australia does not have a publishing tradition of collected works from single writers, Interestingly enough “Head Games” by Nick Earls was never marketed as a collected works even though it is exactly that. So it is wonderful to see Affirm Press bucking the trend.
Mulling it over in my head this morning I realised I have probably have enough works in progress to hit somewhere between the 40,000 and 70,000 words set out for the project. There’s Jude and Lea’s story, there will be my Fourth Fiction novella, plus many short stories which are currently doing not a lot on my hard drive.
Last month I made a committment to have “no loose ends” come the end of this year and Long Short Stories seems to be just what I needed to propel me towards getting stories scrubbed up and dressed in their good clothes to go out seeking to make a stellar first impression.
So from Monday onwards I’m going to committ to writing for an hour – if I can manage it in the maelstrom of a holiday, supporting my soul sister with her brand new baby and my sister with her wedding preparatins then it should be a breeze when I get home. I’m going to chip away at getting Jude and Lea’s story written, plus hack away at the short stories which have been defying rewrites such as Light Years. I often wondered, in leui of having a longer work of fiction as your WIP, what the hell you would write every day. Now I know!
3. Writing makes me happy but I need other things as well.
Nothing blisses me out more than writing – but as writing has moved away from being a much loved pass time and become my profession, I’ve realised I need to find some other pass times to amuse and nourish me. Before I came away I had started up my vegie garden again (which Dave assures me is still alive and we’ll be eating lots of salads from this point onwards!) and was enjoying spending time doing that.
I’m always yearning to go back to dancing – whether it be jazz ballet classes or salsa classes, it is something I’ve been wanting to do for many years now and always find an excuse not to. So once home the excuses stop and the classes begin.
During my wander I found The Crystal Ball a “new age” bookstore which has been around forever and had a meditation CD jump out and beg me to take it home. So looking forward to enjoying fifteen minutes morning and night with it.
4. I miss my morning pages
When we were in Cairns on holidays back in June, it was the death knell of my faltering morning pages and I just haven’t got back into the habit of doing them. My morning routine has been in flux for a couple of months now and it would be nice to settle it down. I need to find some grounding and the morning pages were always good for that.
5. Everyday Notebook of a Writer
My blog was intended as an every day note book and I barely “write” in here. When I began this blog a few months ago the target was three posts a week, but lately they’ve been scaled back to about one every 10 days or so. I want to try to write here every day. If someone reads and comments – brilliant. If not that’s OK too. Writing is a means to an end in itself.
The crux of all this musing…
A need to find balance. A need to write.
It seems to be a recurring theme, balance … writing. Given the Spring Equinox is rapidly approaching it is probably not surprising my thoughts have turned towards reviewing the important areas of my creative life.
I was thinking how last year was all about solidifying my choice to write – testing the waters so to speak. This year has been about finding my feet as a writer and deciding what works, what doesn’t, what I really want to write and getting myself read by as many people as possible. And as we hit the final quarter of the year it is very telling where my path leads by what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. And I love the fact that I don’t have to wait until next year to “get it right”. Practice makes perfect after all and there never is “tomorrow” just today.
It only take one encouraging comment to firm up your belief in yourself as a writer and why you want to do it. So my thanks goes to Chris Chartrand in this rambling post for his stellar reflections on my latest Fourth Fiction installment and allowing me to think it is not all in vain.