Monday, 12 May 2014

More or less writing

On her blog Vanessa Gebbie's announced that "writing is ... going to take a back seat for the next year". Last year my writing took a back seat due to circumstances beyond my control, but this year I think I've written some decent pieces of prose, and when I put together a pamphlet of poems over the weekend it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Acceptances are arriving too. So far this year I've had an article, 4 poems and 2 Flashes accepted, most recently Inside at The Pygmy Giant.

So there's hope yet. But writing can never be my first priority. The idea of churning out 250 words a day doesn't appeal. If I don't write for ages, I often catch up months later so I don't panic. Larkin claimed to write for an hour a day after work. I rarely manage that even during the holidays except when in the early stages of writing a story - I sometimes work on it 3 times a day, re-printing it each time. Maybe 3 hours work.

Vanessa's been working on a novel. That requires the kind of dedication I can't spare. But there's always poetry. And work, and family, and weeding.


  1. A novel, at least for me, is a HUGE commitment. They take me years. And at the moment the thought of writing anything that might take more than a week to complete is simply exhausting. Poems though come when they want. All I have to do is scribble them down, maybe tidy up a few words here and there and sort out the lines. I could subsist on them until I die. Happily. People only have so much to say and sometimes they take a lifetime to say it all but most of us start to run dry after a few years, a decade or two at most. What do any of us have to say that’s not been said before? What new insights do we have? Of course we can just write for the sheer pleasure of writing and who cares if anyone ever reads it. I think about writing a lot. I miss not writing. But at least I have written. There’s comfort in that too.

  2. A huge commitment - and a huge risk. At the end of years of work one might not have a pile of junk, but the novel's content might be out of fashion by then. And it must be boring being cooped up all those years with the same characters.