Herding the Words: Q2 2023

Close up of a typewriter focusing on the paper above the typing ribbon. The words "Stories matter" are already typed on the paper in black ink. Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pixels.

The main news is that I’m still both writing regularly and thoroughly enjoying myself as I do, which is all that I really wanted for myself this year. 

The amount of words I’ve written each month has reduced from the frenetic output I managed over the winter. Yet I’ve still clocked up 60k words in total so far this year, having added another 34.5k words since the update in February.

More impressively, as far as I’m concerned, is that there have only been 4 days so far this year where I didn’t spend at least 30 minutes writing and those days were the only days I didn’t feel like writing. That is such a change from the last few years where I was mostly forcing myself into the chair and fighting myself to get the words out that this really is something to celebrate. I may go rummaging in my notebook box and pick a really swish one out to start once I’ve finished the one I’m currently using!

So, what has this consistent creativity generated (besides a lot of things that are never going to see the light of day)?

My Flashes of Feathers series, which are all part of my Tales from the Wildwood universe, has three more stories in it:

My Microflash Monday weekly streak remains unbroken and I now have 46 tiny stories all gathered here should you wish to have a look at any of them.

My Working with the Wheel series has had two additional posts since the last writing update:

I’ve just started another blog series, one that I’ve been thinking about writing for quite a while, called Living with Hearing Loss. I hope that by sharing my own experiences with this I can help hearing people gain a better understand of just how much it can affect your life, despite it being what is often refered to as an invisible disability. The first post can be found here

The substack newsletter seems to be working out well and the last one, for April, contains a peak inside my notebooks to share the drafting process for a piece of flash fiction that just would not leave me alone until I wrote it.

Speaking of fiction, in February I ended up doing a bit of a BBC Merlin rewatch, which spawned a lot of thoughts about that particular retelling, many of which crystallised into this blog post. I also wrote a very rough draft of the start of what would, if I’d let it, have become a rather epic return to the world of fan fiction. However I realised that it was actually a form of (delightful, but still) procrastination and a way of avoiding the real issue I’d bumped up against. 

The issue was that my usual methods of research didn’t fit with the current (out of necessity) structure my life and I did not have the bandwidth to figure out a new way of doing it. So instead of just throwing in the towel I decided to pivot focus and now I’m spending my fiction writing time on deep dives into my main characters. This has dual benefits, the first one being none of it relies on knowing how long it would take five thousand armed men to travel from London to Tintagel  when only half of them have horses, or any other such exciting questions that will, as some point, need answering! 

The second benefit is that I can mix this deep dive with the other thing I’ve been feeling I needed to do, which is to return to learning about, and working on, the nuts and bolts of writing. I know, from various feedback I’ve had, that there are some things I’m better at then others and now I want to address that, get back to the basics and use my current desire to play with ideas and concepts to learn new methods and grow my abilities to address those parts of my craft I’ve been skating over. If I want to be able to write my novels in the way I envisage them I need to move back out of my comfort zone in the privacy of my own notebooks. And if I can do that whilst also gaining a better understanding of my characters then so much the better. At the moment this consists of plonking one or more of my characters into any of the writing exercises I’m doing that they can fit into and seeing what happens to both them and the work. So far I’ve quite a lot, about both me and them, and it’s been an absolute blast. 

So, on that happy note, I shall end this update with a wish for us all:

As the earth thrums with light, life, and love may we find our creative endeavours overflowing with energy and abundance.

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