I don't know what the weather has been like where you are, but it's been gorgeous here in Rugby. 18 degrees yesterday afternoon! My mood has certainly been brighter.
My 15 minute writing sessions have been going very well, and I've got a lot of useful material under my belt this week. I have several short stories underway, and it's nice to have a break from the novel.
I've been revisiting my previously published short stories and have started to publish them on a separate blog. If you're interested in reading them, you can find them here: http://www.joderrickfiction.blogspot.com/
Most were published in small press literary magazines in the late 1990s, and some were awarded prizes or were highly commended in competitions. I give a bit of blurb at the beginning of each one, saying where they were previously published etc and in some cases, how I came to write them. It's an ongoing process, and I hope to be adding more in the next week or so. It's very interesting to see how my writing style has changed since then!
It would be great if as many of you as possible could 'follow' this new blog and if you feel like commenting on the individual stories, then even better!
As well as reading competition entries and submissions for The Yellow Room, I've been reading an awful lot of novels lately. I've got into my old book buying habit. It's my reward for only drinking wine on two nights per week. The money I'm saving on wine, I'm spending on books, but the latter is much more rewarding and better for me! I loved The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I'm not too keen on Val McDermid's latest, Trick of the Dark. I also loved Mo Hayder's DI Jack Caffery series. I spent about £30 in Waterstone's last week, as I had some vouchers. I can't wait to get stuck into those lovely new paperbacks. I'm perfectly happy having about five novels on the go at the same time with the odd biography thrown in for good measure and light relief. You can see a list of books I've read this year so far over to the right somewhere on this blog.
Time is running away with me this morning, and it's nearly time to go to the gym. I wish there were more hours in the day!
Last week I was feeling very smug, because I thought I had it sussed. The way to motivate myself to get things done was to make a to-do list each day and tick things off as I achieved them. It worked very well, and I got lots more done than usual. Then what happened?
This week is a different story. I can't even be bothered to make a list! It all feels too boring and contrived. And I'm feeling lazy. Is it the dreaded hormones kicking in again? Something to do with the full moon? Who knows? Who cares?
One habit I have been sticking to for nearly three weeks now is writing for 15 minutes as soon as I get up. I have my yellow legal pad waiting for me on the kitchen table and I sit down to write before I do anything else. Some days the writing flows beautifully, often inspired by a dream. Other days (like today) I struggle to get the words down. This morning I simply wrote a list of things I could see in my garden. I described the sky. I added a little more to the novel scene I wrote yesterday, but that was about it. It's hard not to feel despondent when inspiration doesn't strike.
My novel is progressing very slowly, and I still feel a long way from finishing. I start to lose heart and feel it's the worst piece of writing ever. I have this longing to go through what I have and tidy it all up. It all feels such a raggedy mess. How can I write the ending when nothing seems to fit properly in the middle? It's like a giant puzzle I have to solve.
I'm not a planner. I try to plan, but then my writing becomes stilted and forced. The scenes where my characters take over and carry on without me work much better.
And The Yellow Room? The website is up and running again after being 'down' for about a month. I need to update it again soon and make sure I include a Paypal button for the competitions, so that people can pay online. I have yet to start proofreading the stories for Issue 6, which will be considerably later than planned, due to a slight cash flow problem! I'm relying on more competition entries to help with the financial side of things. More subscriptions would be great, too.
Don't forget to send in your entry to The Yellow Room Short Story Competition, which closes on 31st March 2011. Details of how to enter are on the website: www. theyellowroom-magazine.co.uk