Thursday, September 17, 2015

Writing Break is Over

I’m pulling up my socks—or hoisting my bra straps—for a new season of writing. 
In my last post, I said good-bye to my blog for the summer. I thought I was bidding farewell to my writing but that didn’t happen. It was silly to think that I could just stop writing. I continued attending our weekly critique group, Writers Helping Writers. That kept me from getting stale. I love the editing process so being able to critique stories every week was a pleasurable pastime.
I began writing flash fiction to take to the weekly meetings. Kept the stories under 500 words. A great exercise! Of course, it was all crime writing. I can almost hear Bob McCarthy adding that ALL my writing is a crime. Very funny, Bob.
There was a time I was aghast at having to write short stories. After all, I am a novelist. Yeah, right. The advice from Peggy Fletcher to write short stories (she didn’t take no for an answer) was the best I’ve received. Whatever one learns from short stories—especially in a critique group—can be applied to all writing. Novels included. And if Peggy were still with us today, I’d say thank you and admit that I love writing shorts. And I'd give her a hug. A big hug. (My eyes are puddling)
So, during the months that I took time away from my writing (moreorless), I polished (yet again) my memoirs, sent out five queries, submitted some short stories, and read at a poetry and prose event. I cleared and cleaned my desk. Even went through my files! I uncovered some material that I’d forgotten—notes for an ongoing novel, and some scribbled musings for upcoming columns. Oh yes, my monthly column. Taking time away from my writing only refers to my fiction writing. Writing for First Monday was ongoing.
The other day someone asked if I wrote a few columns in advance. I wish. Some work better under pressure. I don’t. Yet, seldom are columns lined up waiting for deadline. It’s always my intention, but there are distractions.
As an example, when I came to the office this morning, my first objective was to draft out a column. After checking emails and facebook, I had an urge to write this blog post. When I looked at my blog, I realized I was still using the old graphics for Crime Writers of Canada. I downloaded the new image. Then I saw that I’d neglected to update the site with my columns from the last several months. I did that, too.
My desk did not remain cleared for long. It’s untidy with notes about old crones and pagan rituals. Background for the column. But also an intriguing idea for a short story. A thriller, perhaps.

It was a good call to break away from my routine for the summer. I’m refreshed and excited. WRITE ON!