First up I just want to say for all those writers who are finding be by Googling things like 'Have Bridport
announced the winners yet?' and such:Bridport
haven't announced anything but they have contacted at least the shortlisted poets, maybe the short story writers too. I only know this because Jonathan Pinnock has blogged about it.
I know how the need to know can get you - you Google Google Google it, refresh your emails, all that jazz - I do it myself, and it's often frustrating when you just want to know - have the winners been notified so I can move on with that particular piece of work. And maybe feel a little sad at not making it.
I'm in a bit of a Rejection Section (nice) at the moment - check out this list from the back of my notebook where I keep track of where my stories are. This is from May til now:
I haven't had a hit since... 100 Stories for Haiti
in January. Wowsers
. Okay. It's no biggie. It will be a fine day when the trend is broken (see, optimistic).
I've been working on The Book too, in bits and bobs. I'm a bit of a faddy writer. That makes it sound bad and I don't think it is. I just have different moods, different projects, and it's good - for me anyway - to go to each thing when I want to. I have several short stories at various stages of development right now, and The Book is always lurking. It means it can be more difficult to complete something in a short space of time, but that a story has space to grow (stale?) .
Along with this tendency to leap around I also believe that You Have To Show up and put yourself in front of your notebook, desk, PC, whatever, and Meet The Boat. (On reading over this post I realise these capitilzings look like titles of self-help books...)
So here's the thing I really want to tell you about. A few days ago I sat in my favourite coffee shop for writing. I was actually writing about writing. I'd taken a look at my Rejection Section and I sat thinking about how small my output can be at times, beating myself up a little really - giving myself the 'How do you expect to get a book published if you don't write it?' talk. Fair point.
Then I balanced it out by acknowledging that I do Show Up - I go to the coffee shop with my notebook and pen and no newspaper (mostly) and I sit and think about writing and sometimes I actually write things. Not always, but I go and put myself in that position and mindset and I believe it's useful in my busy working (not writing work) week to give myself that time.
before that I have a 'deal' with my friend Miles that we email each other a chapter of our WIPs
at the end of each month. Well, with only 2 days to the end of September I had NOTHING to send to Miles. (Miles, who is actually a film maker primarily, is a bloody annoyingly productive writer who emailed me his chapter around the 20th September. )
There are various reasons why this month my book has taken a backseat but the over riding one is because I have been trying to write this book for ages, and after a certain point I hit a wall because the structure becomes a problem.
I really wanted to send Miles something, 'Even if it's only electronic pissvomit
So, back at home after the coffee shop I sat at my desk and forced myself to write up a list of reasons why the various structures and incarnations The Book has taken have worked or not worked.
I should mention, I have done this before - loads of times. BUT. SOMETHING HAPPENED.
It's as close to a 'Eureka' moment as I have ever had: I realised how to structure the book. I shouted some words out like, 'Yes! That's it!'. I felt like I had loads of energy in my belly that I couldn't get out.
I drew this
And really, it feels like it was always there - this idea, this way to do it, just below the surface. An enamel surface; a thin ice surface too.
This is a long post. I try not to do long posts. Really, it's just about how this week I have really felt the ups and downs of writing, but I kept doing the the constant stuff, like going to the coffee shop, like putting myself at the desk.