Bird by bird

This week, I finally got round to writing some fiction. I’ve been in something of an involuntary hiatus recently, talking myself into a bit of a corner where I was not writing, not very happy about it, and seemingly incapable of wrestling back control.

And then something caught my eye, a book I’d bought back in September which from its title alone had given me the nudge I’d needed to get on with the edit of While I’m Alone. I’d been generally trying to resist reading, thinking that might be one of the things stopping me from getting any words of my own down on paper, but seeing as it didn’t seem to be working I thought I might as well dip in and see what else it had to offer.


I reminded me of a couple of things that I think I’d forgotten. How not every piece of fiction I write needs to (nor should be) part of some bigger purpose – be it working on a novel, or producing something for the blog, or moving closer to publication. How it’s ok (even important) just to let the words flow at first, without worrying that they seem a bit rubbish. How planning (which I have tended to rely on so far) is not the be all and end all, and actually starting to write something without any detailed ideas about where it’s headed has the potential to be even more powerful.

On one level this got me thinking again about the novel that’s been waiting patiently for months for me to get on and write it. One of the things that’s been holding me back is feeling the need to have a concrete idea of plot and structure before I begin to write, rather than just the key scenes and characters that have set up home in my mind so far. But actually I think just getting started might be a better option.

Having said that, with my world still full to bursting at the moment I’m not quite feeling in the right headspace to immerse myself in a whole new novel. So instead I turned to another idea I had scribbled down in the middle of a night some months ago…

I initially thought that too might have had pretensions to be a novel. But actually I realised, for now at least, it would make a much better short story. And so I wrote it as that.

I’m not going to share it here – it’s too long, and quite possibly a bit too dark… But I’ve written it, felt once again the pleasure of words rushing through my fingertips to create characters and emotions and tension, and that’s what’s important.


Writing Bubble

7 thoughts on “Bird by bird

  1. Emily Organ

    Well done on getting your short story written. I know what you mean about when to start on a book. If you do it too soon then you’ll only end up rewriting it all because you rushed into it. And leave it too long and there’s a risk you’re procrastinating. I think a short story is a great way to ease into it and may even give you some ideas for the novel.

  2. Hazel Rose Walker

    Great job on building up intrigue, especially with the ‘dark’ comment, now desperate to read your short story!

  3. Mummy Tries

    That’s such a great way of thinking about it hon – because not everything does have a bigger purpose. Sometimes it’s nice to just write for writings sake. I have tons of blog posts sat in drafts where I just needed to get the words out of my head… they’ll never see the light of day but it was good to write them xx

  4. Nicola Young

    It’s great to hear that you’re writing again. Creating fiction just for fun puts less pressure on yourself. That and making them short stories that you can finish and edit quicker. It gives you a sense of achievement, which will no doubt spur you on.

  5. maddy@writingbubble

    Hooray! So glad you’re writing again and of course you’re right that not everything has to be for a bigger purpose. Having said that, in a way everything we write sort of is part of something bigger anyway because it all helps us improve our writing which in turn gets us closer to publication (I like to think!). I’m not a planner at all and have been amazed at where throwing myself in at the deep end has got me. The first draft of my first picture book (which is still my favourite of the three) was written off the top of my head out of nowhere and ended up leading to a whole new aspiration to write more! Thanks for linking to #Whatimwriting (and my interest has been piqued by your short story!) x

  6. redpeffer

    I am definitely in the place where just writing is best. I’m writing micro fiction, flash fiction and editing. I’ve left another 7000 words for now to sit and see how I feel about it all. I think there’s something to be said for letting the words flow in whatever form they come-it’s meant to be perhaps? And I like the idea of a dark short story very much 🙂

  7. Pingback: The lure of the dark side | Sophie is…

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