Friday, August 29, 2008

Writerly Confidence

I think I learnt something about myself last night at my writers group meeting. I took along a short story I'm currently working on to read out and get feedback on. I was initially dented by the feedback and probably didn't take it on board last night but just sat and took down notes. The one feeling that remained resolute with me though, is that the story is a work in progress and I am going to keep working on it - taking on board some of the feedback.

What I learnt - is that I seem to have finally developed some writerly confidence - not 'shout from the rooftops' I'm fabulous sort of stuff but just a little hard nugget of something now resides within me that goes 'OK listen to what people have to say, use what you think resonates and trust yourself.' I think that's it. Trusting myself. I find that the hardest part. I'm currently rewriting my first novel and I find this much harder than getting the story down in the first place. I got worried last week that actually I don't have the skills to edit my own work and finally bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Then I worked out that it's just tough and it's a learning process and I have to hang in there.

It is so easy when you don't earn any money from your creative writing and you are not currently published to feel that it has no value in the world and I do question why I'm doing it. The simple answer is - I can't not do it. I don't know if I'm going to be one of those people to get some external recognition of my writing or if I will always be just slogging away. All I know is that I just want to keep getting better and keep writing.
It's that simple.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chaos and the writer

A lovely thing has just happened to cheer my writing soul. I entered a poem in the poetry section of the writing comps at Winchester Writers Conference this year and I was highly commended. I just got a lovely certificate and comments from the judge in the post. The feedback has really given me a lift - it feels great not to be always writing in isolation but to actually feel that someone has read something (someone who doesn't know you and isn't related to you!!!) and enjoyed it.

My other writing thing at present is I was very determined to write my second novel with a level of organisation attached to it - almost project manage it I guess. The first one was written amidst chaos really - out of sequence etc. My vow has vanished as once again I'm writing chaotically and shall have to repair it all at the end. The good thing is I actually don't mind and have accepted for now that this is the way its meant to be. I'm writing and that is the best part of all!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's the little things...

Every time I come back from Oz apart from missing my family & friends I miss certain foods. I try and jam my suitcase with the priority items like Snack Chocolate bars (each piece of the bar has a different filling like pineapple, turkish delight etc). My fav missed foods are Nutrigrain breakfast cereal and chicken in a biscuit crackers (not wholesome at all but strangely compelling!!!). I also used to love making apricot chicken but I could never find apricot nectar/juice to make it with. I'm only back 5 days and I had to give in to temptation and place an online order with the Australian shop in Covent garden. I am counting the days until my goodies arrive!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back from Hols!

Kangaroo at sunset. Guess where I've been????

I'm just back from 3 weeks in Australia catching up with family and friends. It was fantastic but dam cold. I had a couple of unexpected bonuses at the end of the trip - one was catching up with a dear friend from Western Australia who I haven't seen for 7 years. We worked that one out over several glasses of champagne!
Then - the holy grail of travel happened for me - I got UPGRADED to BUSINESS CLASS for the 20 hours trip home. Anyone who has done long haul in economy knows an upgrade is the ULTIMATE. Had to put that in caps to show how delirious I was with joy - thought I was going to pass out at the check in desk when she gave me my boarding card with the letters BUSINESS CLASS stamped in royal blue across the top. Yes I am shallow but this is an experience worth being shallow for. I had a flat bed seat with a an inbuilt back massager - JOY, champagne on tap and an empty seat next to me just completed the heady experiecne for me. The food was great with several choices for each course. Oh I could have just kept flying around the world in my priviledged little bubble!!!
Still it is always fab to be home and three weeks away from my lovely hubby was pushing it for me. Now its back to work and I find that writers fear has struck while I was busy having fun. I haven't written now for 5 weeks and I have two paths to chose from. Novel number one sits behind me in a box - finished to 2nd draft, printed out and waiting for me to read it afresh. I am a bit terrified and haven't even taken the lid off the box yet. I'm scared for several reasons - worried that it will be crap and I won't know how to fix it, worried that it is not the novel I would write if I was starting it from scratch today. My writers voice has changed in the past three years and I'm just not sure that is how I write anymore but worried that I won't be able to rewrite it the way I would want to.

The second path - is leave novel one for now and start novel 2 which has been burning into me for about 10months. If I do that though I worry that I won't really have gone the distance - all I will have done is show that I can produce 90,000 words but not really finish a novel. I think I would have that hanging over my head like an anvil if I start novel 2. Well I think I've answered my own question. The box needs to be opened and I need to get on with finishing novel 1. That was easy!