Wanting to trust your brain (and mind in general) can feel a little counter-intuitive. After all, most of us are painfully aware of our own shortcomings. Our cognitive abilities are tremendous, yet we often feel like our thoughts and memory are trying to screw us over at every turn. We lose things, miss crucial meetings, forget what we were going to say mid-sentence…
I haven’t posted anything on here since my story, The Lioness, got shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Why? Well, to be honest, I quite like having that story at the top of my page for people to read. After all, it’s proof that I am indeed doing what it says on the tin. This freelance writer is – surprise, surprise – actually writing.
But as I’m sure you know, that works for about five seconds in the real world. Ten, if you’re lucky.
Earlier this year, I decided to revisit an old short story of mine.
I liked the premise, but the execution was sub-standard and there were problems with continuity. It was hard. Let me tell you, editing sucks (says the girl currently stuck editing chapter 5 of a 29-chapter novel). It involves a whole new set of skills where you have to be critical without wanting to set yourself and everything you’ve ever written on fire. It’s often tempting to stop halfway through, but you’ve just got to push on.
Because sometimes, it pays off.
A year ago to this day, I quit my job to pursue my dream of being a freelance writer.
It wasn’t an easy decision, but I was lucky to be in a position where I could launch into it with a certain amount of work (and pay) guaranteed each month. I realize that this isn’t exactly common and I’m grateful I’ve been able to benefit from it. It certainly eased my passage into self-employment.
I’m not going to launch into a massive political debate. No, I’m not happy with the result of the UK’s referendum, but I can’t change it. I couldn’t even do anything about it while the vote was happening, as the UK doesn’t allow its citizens to vote if they’ve never been registered while living in the UK itself. Trust me, I tried (and tried again this morning, just to make sure). They wouldn’t have me. It really sucks, but voilà. All I can say regarding that is:
If you are in a position to do so, then REGISTER! And then vote. No matter what the topic or your opinion may be.
You can’t teleport yourself to your favourite spot, just as you can’t teleport yourself to success.
It might sound like a downer, but I think this is probably ultimately a good thing. Reaching a holiday destination after a long journey is such a great feeling. So is accomplishing a goal after putting in copious amounts of effort. I’m even going to venture that the satisfaction experienced (and how long it lasts for) is proportional to the length of the path travelled.
This is why every step matters.
I’ve been having trouble writing the last few days.
In the middle of NaNoWriMo 2015, I’m struggling to sit down and make sense of what it is I’m doing. I’m typing and words are pouring out. I’ve got about 42,500 words, so only 7,500 words until I win (technically). It’ll be my NaNo record, finishing by day 19 or day 20. I already plan to carry on until the end of November, putting out as many words as I can…
… but will they mean anything?
I’ve always wanted to say things with my words. Sometimes, I want to say so much it stops me from writing altogether. I think to myself “that’s never going to do it justice” and I freeze and give up. Sometimes I never even start. Other people have called me out on it, but all I can do is shrug. What is the use of empty words?
Recently, I’ve been trying to teach myself that it’s impossible to say everything I want to say, in exactly the way I want to say it, in a single story. So I’ve pushed myself into starting one story that will hopefully contain some of the things I want to talk about. Sometimes I feel it does, but more often the sentences I type seem dry and meaningless. I will have to change them, I already know.
A lot of people die every day, in many different circumstances. A lot of people died a few days ago, in Paris and Beirut, in similar and terrible circumstances. I’ve been reading the words of those who survived, soaking in their meaning, trying to make sense of it all.
I wanted to call this post “How can we still write?” but realized that wasn’t the problem. Typing on a keyboard is an easy task, all things considered. I do it every day, for my work and for my own personal projects. It’s what comes out of that typing that matters.
What can we still write that truly matters?
I know I haven’t written a post in a while, but I kind of got stuck in a rut with those posts on Japan. While I really really loved Japan and I wanted to share my experience there with you, this isn’t really a travel blog… I kept feeling as though I’d strayed from what I wanted to achieve here and so I kept putting off posting something new. Part of me thought I needed to see the Japan diary posts through to the end, but another, bigger part of me just didn’t really want to do that right now. Maybe one day I’ll feel motivated again. But now I need to break free from that rut and do something else.
First of all I must apologize for the prolonged absence and lack of posts… As stated at the beginning of this month, I devoted all of my writing time (and more) this month to doing National Novel Writing Month 2014! And… it paid off! I managed to write just over 50’000 words in 29 days. All while keeping up with my full-time job, hosting various dinner parties and dealing with all the crap life tried to throw at me during the month (rather a lot…). I desperately needed to prove to myself that having a day job really is no excuse for not producing a decent amount of writing and I think I did exactly that… only now I have to get on with things and actually produce something worth reading.
Hi there, just taking a break from the Japan Diary to officially commit, on this little blog of mine, to National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s commonly known. If you like writing and you haven’t tried it, you should, it’s awesome. There’s still time to sign up (today is the first day) and get in your word count! It’ll make you laugh (well that’s up to you and what you right, really), it’ll make you cry (probably) and it’ll change your life (definitely). It’s a great way to make new friends who are also interested in writing and you’ll end up with the (very) rough draft of at least half of a novel (depending how epic you intend it to be) by the end of it. I know it can be done, as I’ve completed it twice before, but this year I really want to win it while having a full time job at the same time (my previous two wins were achieved while unemployed).