This week, new member, Suzanne McConaghy tells us about how her writing year has gone. And her experience will feel very familiar to many other writers out there.
“If you’re a real writer, you’ll never let a day go by without writing.
If that’s the case, I’m ashamed to say that moving home, an ailing mother-in-law and renovating her house when she moved into a care home has left me for almost a year without doing what I would call ‘real’ writing.
For ten months, I only wrote two short stories, and my YA novel in progress, Takeover, lay abandoned under a pile of admin. I couldn’t bear to look at it because I felt so guilty – and the longer I left it, the worse I felt.
It was my writer’s mindset that had deserted me and, personally, I didn’t find those little exercises that are supposed to encourage you back into writing at all helpful.
Then, a week ago, we finished the last job on the house.
That evening – after a small celebration – I went to bed and imagined myself on a barren mountainside with my beleaguered heroine, Keira, and her friends and plotted an attack on a train (we are talking dystopia here).
The next day, I wrote for two hours (longhand) and announced to anyone who would listen that I’d written at least a thousand words. Yesterday, I transferred it all to the computer, edited for a couple of hours and found it actually amounted to two thousand seven hundred words. Even better, I enjoyed myself.
This morning I did have a setback: a phishing email which left me thinking my banking might be compromised and resulted in tense conversations with my email provider, changing passwords and so on.
But I have started the next chapter and know exactly where it’s going.
The moral of this story?
Sometimes, life gets in the way and you have to give it priority. It doesn’t mean your creativity has dried up – just that you have a lot on your mind and you’re too tired. “
(Photo taken during The Write Hub, Exeter Literary Festival, courtesy of Emily Appleton: appletoneventphotography.co.uk/)