God, plans, laughter!

It has been one of those weeks when my plans have been met with laughter by higher forces. While I aimed to achieve a lot more short story writing, I went from fiction writing, straight into reporting on the destruction of trees and foliage along local riverbanks. Not so funny.

As a teenager, I read Kate Adie’s autobiography and dreamed of becoming a war reporter. However, me being me, I didn’t fancy writing the births, deaths, and marriages before progressing up the ladder to ducking grenades and hiding behind tanks while speaking to the camera. I wanted to be writing front-page articles for The Times right away. Thankfully, none of this came to pass. Maturity brought the realisation that war is never something to get intentionally caught up in. Also,at that young age, I didn’t have confidence in my own abilities.

My Friday blog didn’t happen because I have spent the last two days staring in horror at two riverbanks I used to love so much. Developers have stripped one side of both riverbanks bare. This is where I used to pause to try to spot kingfishers or admire swans on the way to visit my mom. I’d take pictures of the rivers to show her, especially in the summer when it was all so green and the lily pads were so pretty. Now it is barren, getting ready for future human occupation.

Instead of writing my short stories, I ended up writing a series of outraged tweets, a blog, and emails to the council. I photographed and videotaped the destruction. It wasn’t until I grabbed a coffee with a friend yesterday morning that I realised I had actually become a reporter (after all these years) by default. Not for a newspaper, but for local people who care deeply about what is happening.

This isn’t to say the short stories haven’t been progressing nicely. Up until Thursday my routine stuck.

Next week (depending on higher forces), I will be back to work, creating imaginary characters rather than worrying about real ones. See you next Friday, she says, and someone up above laughs.

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The way it was, the river bank at Trowse before destruction of the right bank took place. This is the way I want to remember it.

Short Stories and other habits…

It’s Friday already, and I am five days into a new self-imposed writing regime. Up at 6 a.m. (or thereabouts), yoga, meditation, hot water, homemade smoothies, Berocca (other vitamin drinks are also available), and it’s chocks away, another writing and reading day, plus a little bit of business thrown in in between times. That’s this week in a nutshell, as some would say, written by a nut. But I know my sanity is now restored.

Following months of predictable but nevertheless unsettling turbulence, I feel like I am actually myself again, and a new strength is oozing through my veins.

I’ve given up juggling and embraced a routine I knew would work. Easy to say, because right up until Monday, I was still eschewing any thought of routine, saying that’s not how I roll. After many years of enforced routines, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go the routine route, but here I am, thoroughly enjoying the new structure to my day, and it is making me super productive. I was productive before, don’t get me wrong, but now the power charge button has been locked into full-on mode.

Not only have I written a lot, I am also reading a lot. A YouTube video by the Creative Penn by chance introduced me to the Canadian author, Douglas Smith. His list of awards and writing achievements is enough to make your head spin. Everything he said during his interview had me transfixed. This is unusual for me; usually I bow out pretty quickly, but Douglas’s huge amount of experience writing and selling short stories was not to be scrolled past. The first thing I did after listening to him was go and buy his book, Playing the Short Game.

At last, someone was saying that it really is worth writing short stories. For years, I’d heard it said that publishers weren’t so interested in short stories, but hey, times have changed.

Another book I discovered this week was the Best British Short Stories 2022 (funnily enough). An anthology of writers I’d never heard of. I took a punt and have loved every one of them so far (I’m on number 4). Go treat yourself!

This blog is going to become another part of my routine. As you will see, there are other blog posts to enjoy here. Pop down below, and you will see a small selection. Come with me on my short story writing adventure; I will share tips as I go along.

The best way to do this is to subscribe. One blog post a week, on a Friday. That won’t fill up your inbox. Let’s go! 

Writer’s Notebooks