State of the writer: Need to push it…

I appear to have inhaled January. Most careless.

I’m trying to review my progress with a bit more care and attention than I did last year to avoid feeling like large chunks of the year have just slid away like wet cake. When you have lots on – day job, friends, LIFE – it’s easy for things to slip. Rather than lose energy beating myself up about it, I’m trying to create systems that work for me. That’s what I’ve spent this weekend doing.

The good news for me is that January proved unequivocally that my best time to get work done is before work. Early starts enable me to have time without distractions, maintain forward momentum, feel positive that I’m in control of the project and stops a tough day disrupting everything. I can bank that. It also convinced me that thinking about my writing in a more structured way – I’ve always been a bit seat of the pants about first drafts – really does help.

I’m still not entirely sold on the merits of detailed outlining but we’ll have to wait for the end of this draft to really be certain.

The bad news is that things still got away from me towards the end of the month as deadlines loomed on other projects. The impact of this wasn’t as severe as last year because I am much better at recognising the signs and I have a number of hacks to maintain progress on the composition front from minimum word count to twelve sentences*. However, it does mean that all the other things I really need to start throwing into the mix get lost: submitting material, revising and thinking about what I’m doing further ahead than arriving at my desk.

This situation was brought home to me at the SFX Weekender when I saw how long ago it was since Stone got put out there and I considered the number of completed, unsold, stories on my hard drive not to mention the two novels festering there. I have every intention of trying to get an agent and publisher in the second half of the year. I need to pull my finger out and put my money where my mouth is. I also need to stop with the cliches. 🙂

Time to crack on!

* I think I picked this up from Adam Christopher’s blog but I can’t be sure. In any case, it’s for the nights when you are really flagging and so you just write twelve sentences. Enables forward momentum and rest. Use sparingly.

PS – Incidentally, if you haven’t read Stone you can still buy Issue 14 from Murky Depths here. Though if you’re strapped for cash there’s a wealth of my flash available right here, a reasonable range being: Pixies, After the Rain, Territory and Blink.

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