March writing update

February has been an interesting month for writing. I’ve tried some new things, and while I haven’t written every day (for some reason I just cannot make myself do that!), I have managed to do more ‘little and often’.

New ideas

The first thing I tried was writing first thing in the morning, with a pen, in a notebook by my bed. Usually if I say that I’ll write at ‘some point’ in the day, it means I won’t do it, so it was really good to feel that I’d already achieved something by the end of my morning coffee.

As for what I was writing, I wrote a couple of scenes from a short story, but mainly I found myself turning to poetry. That’s quite strange because I almost never write poetry (partly because I’m pretty rubbish and barely know what makes a good poem), but writing something from beginning to end in a short space of time is very satisfying (although I wouldn’t call any of the poems ‘finished’).

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Something interesting I found from writing in the morning was that I had lots more ideas the evening before. Knowing that the first thing I would do was wake up and write made my brain light up when I lay down to sleep – sometimes a good thing, sometimes not – and I usually found that I was bursting with ideas by the time I woke up. I think that’s something that’s held me back before, the fear that writing out my ideas would exhaust them. Actually the opposite is true: the more you write, the more you have to write.

I’ve also been thinking about something else this month, partly inspired by Ariel Bisset’s excellent video, ‘Writing A Book?‘ In it she talks about her plans to write a book, and why she is doing it now: because she has an idea and she is ready. That got me thinking about how much of my time I’ve spent dreaming about writing a book, like it’s something I have to get permission to do. Working as a freelance editor, I’ve been realising more and more recently that to get a book written you just have to sit down and do it. It isn’t a course with entry requirements, or something blocked by application forms and interviews. If I want to write a book, it’s on me. I can choose to. There really isn’t anything stopping me.

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Writing the book

So how is the book coming on? Well, I’m quickly realising that it probably has to be a trilogy – one generation of mermaid per book – in order to do each woman’s story justice. The first one, then, is what I’m focusing on, and it’s probably going to be more adventure-y than purely literary (whatever that really means). With that in mind, I’ve moved past the opening that I’ve written a million times and I’m in new territory now. I procrastinated (typically) over where to go with the story, mainly because my protagonist is going to be physically trapped for a large portion of the book. Then I realised that I could go into a new perspective, invent a character who will see my protagonist from the outside (and be instrumental in the rest of her story). So that’s what I’m doing, and this week my protagonist and my secondary protagonist have come face to face for the first time.

I’ve also decided on a writing deadline for this book. Thank GOD, because I don’t function without deadlines. A couple of weeks ago I bought a new diary, a Jibun Techo, and because it’s Japanese it’s filled with all sorts of Japanese holidays and special dates. Well, it turns out that 17th July is Marine Day in Japan, when they celebrate the oceans. My story is all about mermaids, so… 17th July is my first draft deadline for the first book. That’s about 20 weeks of writing from now. Doable? We’ll see.

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So there we have it, a month of writing experimentation and revelation. Plus, I have an aim for my writing in March: I want to take a whole working day to write. I’ve never done that before and I think it could be really fun!

Are you working on any writing projects at the moment? I’d love to hear about them with a comment down below!

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