Two official writing days instead of one resulted in masses of stuff accomplished. Go figure.
I met Ann for our usual writing date.
I started with this month’s discussion post for GYWO, which had the title:
“Feast or Famine: the pressure of fan expectations when your work seems to be doing too well VS when you feel like your work is largely ignored and you need to keep motivated.”
I wrote what I thought was a helpful post, talking about inner motivation and not basing your satisfaction in your writing entirely on how other people react to it. But several writers responded that they prefer not to be told why they should or shouldn’t be writing, which is absolutely fair enough!
I then completed a few reviews, including those for the October Wordy Birds Reading Challenge category, which was a book by an author I’d met.
I was feeling a bit de-motivated by this point, but I decided to press on, and ended up completing a total re-write of the cafe story that had been accused of being more of an anecdote. I shifted it from first to third person, added in more dialogue, upped the emotion in places and generally tried to make it more like a short story in terms of drama and arc. I was pretty pleased with the result, but I’ve still got time to do another pass at the weekend before I have to submit it.
I did a Bear post about our adventures at the weekend on the Rustington Out of Bounds Adventure Golf Course.
I went to a London Writers’ Cafe event, where everyone had submitted the first 300 words for a professional editor to give feedback on. Each author read out their piece and then the editor gave brief comments on both good things and areas that could be developed. It was really interesting to hear other people present their work and there was a huge range of style and genre in the thirty submissions. The editor found something positive to say about everyone’s work, and gave some useful feedback on things to think about, but didn’t seem have much to say about mine, so I didn’t find the session particularly valuable overall. Always good to meet other writers, though!
Today was an Urban Writers Retreat day, which is always a good way to get things done, since it runs from 10am to 5:30pm and nobody is allowed to talk, except for a brief period at lunchtime.
I read through the cafe story and made a few edits, but still wasn’t sure it entirely worked, so I sent it to my Write Club buddies for evisceration, as there were still nearly ten days to go until the competition deadline.
I edited a short reflection on the importance of Stanley Park in Vancouver for my mental health, which is for a competition about how particular places in the world have affected you.
I did another pass on the short story I’m trying to lengthen to fit a Writing Magazine competition and managed to hit the right word count, hopefully without diluting the tension too much.
That took care of the three main things on my list, and it was only 11:30am, so I logged onto Scribophile for the first time in months and did a critique (prompted by Ann asking me about the site last week, which reminded me I hadn’t used it in ages). Then I sat and stared at my list for a while, feeling like the admin tasks would be a waste of valuable time, and the big projects were too daunting a prospect to launch into – so I wrote a blog post about my dilemma!
Then, I used the goal-setting worksheet Charlie always provides for Urban Writers Retreat days (which I had not filled in for today) and made a proper plan for the afternoon, and also for tomorrow. After that, I felt much better and ready for lunch.
After lunch, I did more Scribophile reviews until I had enough points to post the cafe story for some additional, more varied feedback.
Then I finally broke new ground on what used to be the comic book idea, and which now has a working title of Changing Colours. I wrote the opening scene, and it felt quite exciting to be starting a new long-form project. Lots and lots and lots of work ahead on that one, though!
Next on the list was finally getting round to collecting stuff I wanted to keep from my completed project notebooks. I picked the oldest and set to finding and typing up the relevant information. The notebook dated back to January 2016 and contained my notes for about a year. it was really interesting to look back on what I was doing during that time, and I picked up notes for a possible fanfiction, as well as my observations from rereading Perdido Street Station from the point of view of learning how to be a better writer.
The last thing on my list was to brainstorm some ideas for a new short story, based on a prompt for an upcoming competition. I did a tarot reading for some initial thoughts and then did some free writing around the idea in my new notebook, ending up with a skeleton outline to work on more tomorrow..
Overall, the morning felt very scattered and as if the time was stretching out before me with no end in sight. The afternoon was incredibly focused, and disappeared in a flash, leaving me wishing I had more time to work on stuff. The only difference? A plan for what I was going to do throughout the day!