I’m back – and fully writerly revived

Its amazing what a few days away can do for you, and what catching up on 6 weeks of blog-reading can do too!

I’m going to be re-blogging a couple of articles that caught my eye, from Kristin Lamb (http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com). I thought I would share here, why I am doing so.

Article: Take Your Career to the Next Level–Getting Pruned http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/take-your-career-to-the-next-level-getting-pruned/

It’s probably a couple of years ago when I last discussed pruning in my writing, and my poetry. It’s still something I struggle to do, as I never feel I am pruning enough. Kristin’s insights and advice in this blog-post does well to help with this process.

Article:  Learning to Drop the Donkey–Is Perfectionism Killing Your Career? http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/learning-to-drop-the-donkey-is-perfectionism-killing-your-career-2/

In my mind this is a great follow on article, despite it being written earlier than the pruning article. If you remember my article about the disappearing floor, and the struggle to get rid of that novella that never seemed to get very far even after 14000 words, you’ll understand why I like this article.

I am also reminded of a phrase used in the UK “Why don’t you just drop the DEAD donkey?” This is (as far as I’m aware) directly from a British comedy series called “Drop The Dead Donkey” which was based in and around the office of a small-channel TV news station and the not-so-great journalists who worked there. It was a team made up of dysfunctional, unambitious, often lazy people who would try anything to look good. One episode I remember is when one of the journo’s Damien, has made a report from some “war-torn” town. He interviews an older lady, who speaks no English. The final report is aired – with subtitles translating the “hardship and heartbreak” of her living in this town. The cleaner then comes in and translates it properly for the rest of the team – it turns out that the lady has been paid to come on camera! It is somewhere in the You Tube archives of channel 4 on demand. I’ve tried to search for it, but there was a lot of the show made.

Anyway, so why this slightly random link to a TV show? I realised whilst reading Kristin’s column that sometimes we as writers are the dead donkey to our writing. This could be for a number of reasons. For me, and for many years, it was a lack of self belief and confidence. I never expected my work to be read, or to be good enough to be read – and guess what? I delivered just that.

The dead donkey is, in some respects, the perpetual lie that has been told to us over and over again, either by ourselves, or by others, or both, that we begin to believe, and the fruits we produce is a direct result from this. Hence a need to be pruned. Prune out that old wood that hasn’t produced any edible fruit in years. Take out the trusses of tomatoes that are the smallest to enable all the nutrients to go to the bigger, stronger tomatoes (we’re growing tomatoes in the garden – can’t you tell?). What’s your dead donkey? What needs pruning in your writing life?

Inspiration and other things

So, it’s been weeks since I last posted anything.

Why is that? I hear you ask?

Well, quite frankly, I’ve had a dearth in writing. I’ve not wanted to mainly. For various reasons, all stemming from a massive amount of stress from my job (not writing related).

To be honest, at this moment in time, I still don’t. I have written a few poetic lines, and in fact finished typing/revising a short story. I’ve sent this to a writerly mate for a look-see and help with voice. I’ve a few ideas as to what to do with it after this, but I’ll keep these under wraps until later on in the year.

I’m even thinking of reviewing some material I wrote a while back for children. I just need to find someone to illustrate for free (or maybe a big bar of chocolate)!

 

So why write a post?

Thanks goes to this quarter’s Mslexia and the article

The curse of the disappearing floor
Scarlett Thomas’ worst mistakes

Well, today I got the new Mslexia magazine (www.mslexia.co.uk) and after a quick read through (I’ll spend the next 3 months having a longer read!) I’ve realised a big thing. I need to chuck/delete/burn the “novel” I’ve been trying to work on. It’s stuck. I’m stuck. I need to look at something new, fresh. I’ve said this before, but not done anything about it. That story is still on my PC, notes are in a drawer etc. This weekend (I really have no time to do it before) I will physically throw this thing out.