Young(ish) and Free(ish)

It has been a long time since I wrote about my day-to-day writing. That is in part because the little writing time I have seems wasted on blogging, and it is partly because there has been little to write about. Until recently that is…

A year and a half ago I wrote a long post explaining why I was failing to write my second novel. Well, I did carry on - in the more joyful and laid-back manner I wanted - and I loved writing it in a new structure and with different characters etc. But, a few months ago, I ground to a halt again. And I realised this time it was because it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to write another novel one day. But actually, novel-writing is not where my heart is. The writing that has brought me most joy over the last few years has been flash fiction (that is stories under about 1000 words). I have won prizes in a few competitions and I feel as if I’m developing as a flash writer in a way that I just wasn’t as a novelist.

Flash writing is so much easier to fit in around young children. It gets inside my head. It excites me. I love how I can experiment wildly and if it goes wrong I’ve lost a week or two of writing, not months or even years.

On top of this, my literary agent told me that he is no longer going to be a literary agent (he has quite enough other writing-related jobs!). So I am agent-less!

David has done great things for me and I’m so grateful to him for that, but I’m also excited that it gives me a natural break. (My eldest son has just started school and my youngest pre-school which also feels like a good natural milestone). I kind of see The Art of Letting Go as my Before Life. It was a novel I wrote while young and with no idea how to write, and I’m so glad I did. But I feel as if having done that I pushed myself to be novelist, rather than a writer; I chose my PhD subject before I’d chosen my A-levels, if you like! I can (and probably will) choose to write a novel again, but I can make a fresh start as a novelist when I do. I feel far more of a writer now than I did when my novel was published four years ago.

So what am I doing if I’m not writing novels? The last couple of months I have been working on a couple of things - the major one being a novella-in-flash. And I am having SO much fun!

In the space of two months I’ve written about half of it. I’ve experimented and I’ve dreamed and I love it. I think I may have a first draft written by December. It’s a completely new challenge for me - I’d never even heard of a novella-in-flash a year ago. For me though, it’s the perfect form - flash fiction, but lots of flash fiction stitched together to make a longer narrative. Big stories told through tiny snapshots.

I’ll probably write more on this subject another time. But for now, rejoice with me, friends. I am in love (and it’s with writing tiny stories)!