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!
Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to see and learn.
I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch 'The Bumps,' raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls.
Growing up in a multi cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere's Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for a wonderful year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen.
My first UK full time job was with Heffer's Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can't remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it. Heffers introduced me to so many authors, via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all.
Aside from writing letters, it didn't really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere as really I wrote it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, didn't have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters.
Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn't do anything physical for months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks and they became pretty popular. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and looking after my mother who has various health issues and the writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world.
March 2020 I moved to my apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not simply a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment but to me as a writer, in some ways, it came as a gift.
Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart.
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