I’ve been a bit all over the place this week, finding it difficult to settle to anything, and not feeling as if what I’ve been doing is particularly worthwhile. Still, recording it all for Weeknotes shows me that I am getting things done, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
I had a writing date with Ann, though I felt unfocused and as if I didn’t have anything I really wanted to work on. I read through a workbook from a daily writing programme I came across some time ago and reminded myself why writing every day really doesn’t work for me. It becomes a chore, something I have to get done to complete my tasks for the day, and I end up obsessing about the number of words rather than thinking about the content and quality.
So, I switched to some pre-writing worksheets and did some brainstorming for a project that’s in the first stages of creation. I’m excited about it, and I’m keen to produce something, but it’s intended to be a comic book series, which I have no experience of, and the learning curve feels way too steep at the moment. I wrote some interesting and useful notes, but I’m really not sure what to do with it now.
I spent the last half hour of the session going through and marking up the submission opportunities at the back of this quarter’s edition of Mslexia, which I have just subscribed to.
After the writing date, I walked from Brick Lane to King’s Cross for what was billed as an ‘editing workshop’ by London Writers’ Cafe. It turned out to be more of a lecture by a professional editor, which contained some useful tips and amusing anecdotes. Perhaps if I’d read the description of the event more carefully, I would have been more prepared for the format, but it didn’t feel particularly useful, overall.
However, I did happen to sit next to one of the other writers from the Six Month Novel Programme, and we walked back to King’s Cross together afterwards, so that was nice.
I decided to give myself the rest of the week off from actual writing. Hannah wasn’t free for our writing date on Wednesday, and I wanted the whole day to myself on Sunday, so didn’t sign up for the Let’s Write Together session.
I read an article in Mslexia, which was very appropriate to my situation. It pointed out that a run of small publication successes is inevitably followed by a period of nothing, because successes raise your ambition and you start submitting to places that are more difficult to get accepted by. I made the decision recently to start submitting only to paying markets, and I haven’t had any acceptances since. I have, however, had quite a bit of positive feedback, which is very encouraging, so it’s important that I don't give up!
New Urban Writers’ Retreat dates were released so I booked onto the only one I can make, in October.
I booked a place on another London Writers’ Cafe workshop, which involves a real-life agent providing feedback on the first 300 words of every attendee’s novel. Got to be worth it!
I spent some time adding all the submission opportunities from Mslexia onto my rolling spreadsheet. Plenty of potential projects to think about and work on!
Earlier in the week, Dave sent me details of two YouTube channels about writing - Ellen Brock and Chris Fox. So, I watched a couple of videos from each and decided to subscribe to both. One of my biggest problems at the moment, though, is that there are so many resources available to me as a writer, and not nearly enough time to consume them all, so new YouTube subscriptions isn’t going to help much with that!
Nada. Zip. Nothing.
I submitted the novel for two competitions and also submitted a short story for consideration by Fireside Magazine.
I generally find the process of submitting work both time-consuming and frustrating, as it involves very careful reading of guidelines, much irritating formatting and general annoyance related to form-filling and attachments. Today was no exception, as I failed to save changes to a document, which resulted in me submitting my manuscript without the cover page to one competition (which may disqualify me), and the other competition guidelines were extremely unhelpful as they didn’t specify how, where, and what to actually submit.
I also discovered that my posting window for this month’s GYWO discussion post (on balancing personal time and writing time) was 14-16 September, not 16-18 September as I had thought, which meant I was late posting. Luckily, the topic matched a personal blog post I wrote a few weeks ago, so I amended that a bit to fit the purpose and send it off to the moderators.
I read a bit of Wonderbook, a weird and wonderful reference book about writing fantasy, which I started much earlier in the year but put aside some months ago for reasons I can’t remember. It’s got a ton of really useful and imaginatively presented information about writing - I’m just not sure how best to capture and retain any of it, to use in my own work.
Lastly, I caught up on my reviews, including the one for the September category of the Wordy Birds Reading Challenge, which was to read a children’s book. So, hopefully, that will be read out on East Point radio (based in Lowestoft) later in the month.
According to the above, I did quite a lot today (and the rest of the week) - so why does it still not feel as if I’m really achieving anything?