Writing life

I’m back at work after a long weekend and slow to rouse. It feels like this is something regular until I realise it only becomes a thing when I feel it, the rest of the time, and four days out of five, I don’t notice it because I’m at work and straight into it. I can skive, but overall I’m pretty diligent.

The weekend itself was pleasant without being anything out of the ordinary. It was a standard weekend with a combination of the usual activities: I caught up with a friend Saturday night and another dropped by Sunday. I did my shopping, I cooked, I read, watched some footy, and I put in my usual shift writing.

I didn’t get as much writing as I would have liked perhaps, but I’m moving in the desired direction. I think this will be a good book if I can get it close to how I envisage it, and better probably than the book I just finished. I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I have improved as a writer over the last 18 months. That comes down to sheer discipline and repetition, and having to wrestle with the complexities of the novel. I hope the improvement continues, though I expect it will slow at some point. For now I’ll take it, confident now that I have the goods to be an above average writer at least – though I’m aiming for more than that.

I’ve parked the novel I’ve written. I flirted with the idea of taking it to a publisher, but held off. I have people reading it who give it great feedback, but my aspirations are higher than that. I figure if I leave it for six months, until a point when it’s out of my head, before going back to it with fresh eyes and improved skill, then I can probably polish it an extra 20%. I can wait – it’s about the art (he said pretentiously).

In the meantime I have this other novel to work on, and two more in my mind to move onto afterwards, plus a screenplay (and sundry stories). And there’s a grant to apply for.

A friend sent me a link a couple of weeks ago for a new venture for aspiring novelists. There’s ten slots up for grabs, each of which come with $15,000 of prizemoney and a writing mentor. The money would be very handy, but it’s the mentor that excites me.

In my book the hard thing about writing is getting an alternative, critical perspective on the work. I can have friends and acquaintances read my stuff, and though their feedback is positive and useful in its way, it’s neither professional or particularly incisive. I’m confident that with properly professional feedback that I can repair or enhance my work with their guidance. I think I have a good eye, and a good nose for that matter, but it’s impossible when you’re immersed in a piece to see it properly. You know it too well. It’s all trees to you.

I’ll be submitting my application in the next couple of weeks, with my completed novel being the work I submit as part of that. By the time they announce the successful applicants I’ll have just about finished the first draft of the current book and will be good to return to the earlier one. I have to be successful of course, but there’s no point worrying about that. I’ll do my bit, the rest is with the gods.

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