Short Fiction · Writing on writing

When I was one

Today it’s exactly a year since I started writing again! Thank you, your applause is most humbling.

I’m celebrating in three ways. First of all, by keeping up the discipline and publishing a new story. This was a character exercise, trying to write a lead character with a nihilistic attitude to life and put him a situation where he had to look after someone. As always, I’ll be keen to hear what you think.

I’ve also created a new section called Writing on writing, where I will publish occasional essays on what I’m learning about being a writer. The first post One day at a time, is ready and waiting to be read.

To let you know the third I have to let you into a little secret. Come closer, I don’t want to say this too loud.

I don’t like some of the stories I’ve published here.

Are you shocked? Perhaps secretly relieved?

Here’s the thing. There’s a number of skills I need to learn in order to succeed as a writer. My first challenge was to learn the discipline of writing every day. This is important for two reasons. For one, if you don’t write everyday you’re not going to get better any time soon, obviously. The second is that you need to detach from the idea that great creativity comes from great inspiration. I started this blog so that I had something to be accountable to, something that would force me to produce each week whether I felt like it or not, whether I was inspired or not and regardless of whatever else was going on in my life. That’s what I’ll need to do if anyone decides to pay me one day, so I need to learn now.

The downside is sometimes I’m incapable of making my idea work in time for my deadline.  I’m not saying I think they’re bad, or without value, just that they fall short of my aspirations. So I just do the best I can and try not to let on to anyone how Ireally feel.

Now that I’ve cracked the discipline nut, it’s time to learn a new skill: how to re-write.

So: to celebrate my writerly birthday, I am launching re-write week.

About re-write week

Once a month, instead of writing a new piece, I’ll re-write one of the older pieces and see if I can improve it. Or if it turns into something different….

I’d like you, dear readers, to nominate stories for a re-write. You could even nominate some of my non-fiction for a re-write. I’ll pick a story from your nominations and see what I can achieve in the week.

So let me know your nominations in the comments box below. I promise, no ego, no recriminations, just (hopefully) better writing.

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2 thoughts on “When I was one

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