"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.Ē
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
This statement is, Iím sure, something that we can all agree with and is also, no doubt, something that we all do, or at least aspire to do.
In November I started NaNoWriMo with the idea to write an interwoven collection of short stories (a little like Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout which I would highly recommend reading if you havenít already). I had a notebook full of rough drafts and I got off to a good start in week one. Week two didnít go as well and by week three my project was on its knees. However, out of the ashes rose another project; the same project, in fact, but in shorter form: the novella-in-flash.
I spent the rest of November and most of December perfecting my twenty-seven flash fictions. Some mornings I set the alarm to be up before my husband and son, other nights I stayed up late and every spare moment was spent thinking about it. By the middle of December I had had enough of it, but desperately wanted to finish it before Christmas. Two of my critiquers in Hong Kong agreed to read it over Christmas and this was just the extra push I needed and I finished it on Wednesday 21st December. I know there will be more work to do in January, but thatís okay. Iíll be ready by then.
Popular writing advice is often: write every day, but Iím going to ignore that completely over Christmas. Not just because I want to spend time with my family enjoying the festivities, but also because I want a break from writing. I want to read more. I want to experience things that will feed my imagination. And hopefully this way I will be able to come back to my project with fresh eyes in January.
Hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas, whether you are at home or abroad, writing or not, and I wish everyone a happy & healthy 2017.†