Upping my game

Hey, how’s your week been going? Mine’s been surprisingly productive and positive. I’ve been trying to up my game this week – trying to get back into the writing mindset when I have free time during the day, and actually making some free time as well.

That said – I really don’t have a lot of free time. Most of it is taken up (quite willingly, I should probably add) with my small person, and all of her trials and tribulations. But lately I’ve been going up to playcentre with her, hanging out together until morning tea time (10am) and then (on my non-duty days), once she’s settled with her lunch box and drink bottle, “popping out” for some me time. I usually get back before 11:30, so this isn’t a wild/crazy sort of break for me, but I’ve been wandering down to the local cafe, or even just heading back home (5 minutes around the corner). And writing.

For a while I was thinking (mostly due to my time shortage, and also because I hit a part I got stuck with in the novel-in-progress) of giving myself some short-story assignments. Write one, sub one, sort of thing. Wind up with four stories each month, and something to do – submitting to journals, and the like. But then I was watching some of Brandon Sanderson’s videos (oh my god, have you seen these? They’re amazing), and in one of them he’s talking about what a good idea it is to write what you like to read.

Real duh moment, huh? While I like short stories (and have a select few that I positively drool over), I’m definitely a novel person. Reading a book of short stories can often be interesting, but ultimately I find they don’t fully satisfy. Probably a big clue there.

Novels and I do have some history (the writing of, I mean), and it all feels rather tumultuous when I look back. But you don’t need the whole drama. I’ve got one I started earlier in the year – notecarded, seven or so scenes written – before I got stuck, and then the family got sick, and it all went downhill from there.

But I’m back in the middle of things again now, yep, and trying to up my game. Not in terms of insane word count, or anything like that, but setting comfortable goals that I can hit every day. Wanting to think about the book every day, even if just for a little while when the little one’s sleeping. Finally realising that there’s not much I’d really rather be doing. Taking steps to keep myself organised amidst the chaos. Trying to shake the belief that I’ve held for so long, that outlines are anathema to my writing. Taking the time to sit down and brainstorm, and analyse my ideas a bit, and holding out for something that’s a little more original than the first idea that comes along.  It’s like my brain’s emerged from some sort of weird writing fog-of-war and I’m finally able to think clearly about my approach.

I’ll write more later about what I’m actually doing, but just thought I’d make a “for the record” sort of post about this. It feels like a revelation, but really all it is is the act of getting back to the work. It feels good.

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