It’s been a strange week-and-a-bit, since graduation and election day brought my the two most time consuming projects to a (temporary) end. I’ve suddenly found myself with a whole lot more free time to fill, which has been a bit startling.
There is, of course, the endless parade of job applications to fill out and send off, but the job hunt is rather depressing at the moment, so I’m not going to dignify it by dwelling on it.
Instead, it’s been a time to return to writing. I made something of an effort to resume scribbling after the conclusion of my exams, but the sudden appearance of the by-election on the horizon demanded much of my attention. Now I try to sink back into the routine of knocking out a story or two every few weeks, I’m finding I’m a little rusty.
It’s not so much a lack of ideas, which seem to come to me in deluges whenever I sit down, but rather a lack of confidence. I get a few hundred words into a story and start doubting it. The writing isn’t up to scratch, the characters are flat, the plot is uninteresting. Self-consciousness takes hold of me like a teenage girl looking in the mirror, and the story ends up abandoned before it’s gotten going.
And I’m sick of it.
So this weekend, and the next couple of days, are about breaking that cycle. Thusfar I’ve edited my way through two stories, submitted one of them (the other is waiting for the verdict of my ever-dependable beta reader), and am pushing my way through another- involving a ball, an assassin, and an interplanetary socialist civilisation. I’ve also been reading a lot; continuing with Lavie Tidhar’s excellent Osama (review to follow), supplemented with dips into China Mieville’s brilliantly weird Kraken, as well as episodes of Escape Pod and PseudoPod.
The combination seems to be working. Aside from a minor distraction yesterday involving capital punishment, and a little break this morning to poke a stick into the vipers’ nest that is John Redwood’s blog, I’ve been almost entirely focused on writing. And I’m remembering why I love it.
All these ideas which have been floating around my head, finally being given an outlet. Watching them take shape- admittedly, a shape which will need various dings hammered out of them- is something beautiful. It’s what got me interested in creative writing in Year 2 (aged 6), and it hasn’t changed.
So hopefully, in a matter of days I’ll be back to pumping out stories at my former pace. I might even knock out a piece of flash to post on here.