Thursday 16 November 2023: In touch with writing, again

Image by Venita Oberholster from Pixabay

On Tuesday afternoon, I closed down the laptop and moved to the living room, taking my notebooks with me. I’m delighted to report that I managed to do quite a lot of short story planning work and I started the new editing job.

Earlier in the week I brainstormed a few short stories that have to be in over the next month or two. On Tuesday, I disregarded three and kept four. I have so many other short stories already in various stages that I decided I didn’t need many more. So I culled the new ones.

It was really nice getting back in touch with my writing, and using a pen and notebook. I’ve been watching a three-part docu-drama about Shakespeare and it inspired me to start writing with a pen more.

The session was so successful that yesterday morning I set up shop in the living room again, and carried on doing longhand work, which included this week’s diary as I hadn’t done it last week.

Having done the short story planning work, I was able to accurately allocate 1-hour diary slots. I’ve gone back to working on several short stories at once, at various stages:

  • brainstorm (e.g. Digital Love)
  • outline (e.g. The Ace of Swords)
  • write draft 1 (e.g. The Mucky Duck)
  • revise/redraft (e.g. Killer Queen)
  • proofread (e.g. Take Your Pick*)
  • submit (e.g. The City of Glasgow*)

Then I start again, but this time everything moves down one:

  • brainstorm (e.g. Fallen Angel)
  • outline (e.g. Digital Love)
  • write draft 1 (e.g. The Ace of Swords)
  • revise/redraft (e.g. The Mucky Duck)
  • proofread (e.g. Killer Queen)
  • submit (e.g. Take Your Pick*)

* Take Your Pick and The City of Glasgow have already actually gone, but I’d sooner write those in now and cross them off as done than have blank spaces. The OCD doesn’t like blank spaces… The OCD doesn’t actually like things out of order, really, but this was the better way of doing it.

And then I go back to the beginning again and everything moves down another one.

I realise I’m probably going to miss some of the calls for submissions, although I’m going to try darned hard to hit them. But if I do, it’s not a big deal when I do things this way. I still have other markets to send things to, and I still have my own publishing schedule.

Also, if a future call for submission comes along and I already have something either in stock or in the system, then I don’t have to rush to turn something around.

This system replicates the power board. The problem I’ve had recently is that the deadlines are so close, I’ve only been able to work on one story at a time. And that bores me rigid, it really does. Plus, if I missed the deadline, I stopped working on the story.

Dean Wesley Smith advocates writing for fun first and then seeing if it fits somewhere. And if it doesn’t, put ii straight in my own publishing schedule. All my writing life, I’ve written for the market. I hope I have fun trying to write for fun first for a change.

Stories in my own publishing schedule go like this:

  • submit to call for submission first, if I miss…
  • send it to market, if it comes back (or when it’s released back to me)…
  • publish it in Words Worth Reading
  • 1 month later, publish it as a standalone short story
  • in the future, add to as many themed collections as I wish

I’d love to get so far ahead that I could do the same with novels and novellas but at the moment that’s unlikely, and I’ll probably just publish/serialise them straight to Words Worth Reading.

I already have the bulk of the content ready for Words Worth Reading Issue #1 (the October one was Issue #0), apart from the novella. Take Your Pick and The City of Glasgow are currently at market. But I’m expecting responses this week.

If they’re accepted, I’ll have to replace them with new short stories. If they’re rejected, they’ll stay in the schedule. In future, any new stories will have already been to market and I’ll know if and when I can use them myself. For now, though, I’m still working up against the wire.

Does that make sense?

Anyway, back to yesterday. I started today’s blog and went in search of today’s image. While the laptop was on, I also did my weekly tech scan. I had a detailed brainstorming session for The Ace of Swords, handwriting 449 words for that.

An email came in from a magazine asking for an interview regarding The History of Cadbury. I’m still deciding how to respond.

I did some reading, the first in a cosy mystery series by a writer new to me. I quite liked it because her main character went to Budapest, and I’ve been there. So it was a familiar location. I entered a few competitions, then wrote the outline (road map) for The Ace of Swords.

Then it was on with a bit more editing and a bit of whatever else took my fancy. I didn’t work too late, as I had to be up early this morning to take the dog to the vet for another blood test.

4 thoughts on “Thursday 16 November 2023: In touch with writing, again

  1. Sounds like a good day.

    I like to start the day by writing in longhand. It gets me in a better headsapce for the rest of it. The physicality of having to slow down to write with pen and paper helps a lot for me, in first drafts.

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