Tag Archives: Anne Lamott

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.

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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.

 

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