So, day four of Nano Poblano! Already I am questioning what the hell I am going to write about for another 26 days. I need a plan. I also need to remember why I decided to do this.
Let me explain. I have a completed novel in a drawer. It hasn’t been there long, maybe six weeks, but I’m just stepping away from it for a while. When I say completed I mean it has a beginning, a middle and an end and consists of ~ 140,000 words (ouch). It needs more editing, I still worry about finding ‘my voice’. I worry that I have submission paralysis. It’s been a few years in gestation. I did an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa in 2012/13 which was a great kick start to my writing but at the end I knew I had to throw away 90% of what I’d written. I kept the same basic idea, some of the plot and characters and started again. I then wrote a story within the story which I like but now I have 3 timelines. I’ve been challenged to name a successful novel with 3 timelines – I’m still looking.
However, while my main project was on hold I didn’t want to stop writing (I need to keep exercising the small amount of discipline I have) and I didn’t want to embark on a big project like my next novel, the bones of which are also rattling in the drawer.
That’s when I started poetry classes, feeling a bit scared and anxious (as per my Princess and the Pea syndrome). I had very little exposure to modern poetry at Bath Spa (I didn’t choose those options). Carrie Etter very inconveniently made me cry in a room full of strangers (something from Lost Sons, I understand she does that a lot), Gerard Woodward made me laugh aloud when I read A Poodle Symposium. I had never written any modern poetry myself. All that changed. My experience at the classes with Josephine was truly enlightening. It was poetry writing by stealth, which was just what I needed, there’s no point deep diving into a shallow pool. Lots of reading, creating discussion and ideas. We started off writing words, then sentences, then trying our hand at writing our own version of poems. It was fun and I got slightly hooked. So much so that last week I entered some competitions (with no expectations just glad to polish my efforts and make the deadline).
While having my novel locked away it also seemed like a good time to start writing a blog – nothing happened. Nano Poblano offered an ideal opportunity and a challenge. When I mentioned I was thinking about blogging to hubby he said ‘FFS do it’. You should understand we have had this conversation many times and I should mention that he has been a regular blogger for more than 16 years and has a gazillion followers (so he tells me) and I’m the one who wants to be a writer. Hmmm. It was hard to find reason’s not to go ahead.
And no, I’m not going to link to his blog and he’s not going to link to mine. All that time he has had an embargo on even referring to me. I mention that because this is a big step for me. I don’t actually want anyone to read this. Well maybe one or two.
I don’t really want to discuss my novel in detail yet but I do want to discuss the craft of writing.
I have lost count of the different drafts I have written for the opening of my novel so I might attempt some posts about the close reading of first pages from novels I love.
I also might attempt to explain why I so admire the poetry collection Loop of Jade by Sarah Howe. I’m re-reading it now. There I’ve said it, there’s no backing out now.
But not tomorrow, tomorrow I might just manage a photo.