Friday, 21 September 2018

Coming Up For Air

I've been immersed in writing my novel, tentatively titled Other People's Ghosts for what feels like a loooooooong time now—I'm 50k words into writing the second draft. Those 50k words (and the 80k or so of the first draft that proceeded them) have been grabbed & snatched whenever I've had chance—first thing in the mornings, during lunch breaks, during tired evenings when the rest of the world is surely sensible enough to be be asleep—over the past months. Each time I write another 10k it feels like another notch as I descend into blacker and blacker waters; and they'll only get deeper & blacker as I move onto subsequent drafts.

I haven't finished a short story in months; I used to be able to work on multiple stories at once but life doesn't really allow that anymore. Life, time, age doesn't allow that. Because of the slow way publishing works, a few stories of mine are still trickling out this year, but soon they'll be nothing in the pipeline. I've a couple of stories still trying to find a home, two of the best ones I've ever written IMHO, yet they're wracking up the rejections like nobody's business. Maybe they're junk and I'm not seeing them clearly. Maybe I've lost perspective, down here in the deep.

But you know what? I miss writing short stories, not just creatively, but for stupid reasons: the acceptances, the feedback, the feeling that new work was coming out and I wasn't being forgotten, fading in the minds of the few readers I have.

Like I say, stupid reasons.

But once this draft of Other People's Ghosts is done, when I'm maybe 30k further down into the black water than now, I'll need to come up for air and write some new short stories. It will be good for the novel, to have a pause between drafts, obviously, but more importantly I think it will be good for me. For stupid reasons. To come up for air, see the light, feel the wind on my face, wave to a shore that seems more distant than when I took a breath and dived: hello, I'm still here.

And then back down I'll go.


Mark West said...

Looking forward to the novel, mate and thank you for the bit about being forgotten, I know exactly what you mean with that. It terrifies me too...

James Everington said...

Who's this?