Monday 3 January 2022

Writing diary: January


Start of the year means resolutions, of course.


I love a resolution. Part of it is a result of being self-employed, and at the moment entirely in control of my own workload (due to no one breathing down my neck demanding I get on with producing timeless prose). Part of it is just my nature, I think. I like a schedule. I like targets. I like to keep a timesheet so I can be accountable to myself for what I’ve been doing with my time.


In fact 2022’s resolution is a direct result of 2021’s timesheet. As well as logging the hours I spend on various projects and tasks, I log words written. And looking at 2021, I realised that I have written scarcely any new words. I kept a diary approximately weekly, but that’s really just a sort of mind-dump that helps clear my brain and set things straight. It’s not anything I ever expect anyone to read, including myself. I’ve edited a couple of manuscripts of mine, which involved writing the odd word as well as deleting many. I’ve made a very detailed plan of the next thing I’m going to write which includes a 5,000-word outline. But I have not written any new books. I think this may be the first year this has happened since I started writing fiction. It feels very strange. I’ve been treading water.


It’s partly the world situation, I suppose. It has seemed like nothing is moving forward and that has affected me. And for quite a bit of the year there wasn’t any space in my house for me to be on my own to write and that had an impact on me. I think the fact that I now have an agent who is submitting my work to publishers has made me feel like I’m in limbo too. What’s the point of starting something new if I’m going to have to stop to do edits once something gets accepts, or change tack if it seems like no one’s interested in the type of book I’m producing?


But a writer has to write. I can’t just sit around tweaking the books I’ve written before. For a start some of them really aren’t worth the trouble! I need to write to get better at writing, to find new and more fabulous stories, to investigate my voice, to grow my ideas so that they entertain other people.


And now I have my own little office and a ‘don’t even knock if the door’s shut’ rule, I have nothing to distract me.


So for 2022 the first thing I’m going to do is write that book I’ve been planning. And I’ve got another one that’s just the germ of an idea at the moment too. Perhaps I’ll get that one done. Or maybe something (*whispers* having one of my books accepted for publication) will come along to distract me from it, but I’m not going to sit around waiting for that to happen.


And my resolution? I’m going to write at least 500 words a day every day this year, as I have in some other years. It doesn’t have to be my books – these words count too – and I will have to have a stack of ideas for days when nothing seems to want to come. Maybe I’ll begin some more Snippets stories; those were begun in a 500 words year. The thing about writing a little every day is that it leaves you in no doubt that you are a writer.


 My latest book Snippets: Tiny Pieces of Fairy Tale is available now.


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