Sunday night, 11th July I submitted a 1st draft manuscript as part of the 12 month Write your Novel course I joined in October 2020, with Australian Writers Centre. Other students in the class and my tutor will read this draft and feedback to me.
It was a requirement to have a manuscript of 10,000 to 20,000 words, and be seeking a process to get yourself moving toward a finished manuscript.
This week, I feel free. Vulnerable and nervous that my readers will tell me it is a crock of sh*#, but relieved.
I wasn’t looking for how to write lessons. I was happy for writing to remain a natural, calm, almost stream of consciousness activity that I undertake, because I enjoy stories.
I’ve always dreamed of being an author. As 60 inexorably approaches it seemed a good time to seriously pursue that goal.
Sixty years old. It doesn’t seem possible that I’m coming up on old age. At what point do we cling to the froth of 40 is the new 30, 50 the new 40, etc? All I know is that generally I feel about 26, which probably also goes for level of maturity [LOL]. I’m supposed to be in an amazing place in my life where I know myself, have confidence in my strengths and abilities. Funny that.
My background is secretarial and I believe that things would fall apart if you didn’t have hardworking administrators. But have you heard of the Golgafrinchans? Their story resonated with me from the get go, particularly on the many days that I’m down on myself.
If you’ve read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of books, you would know about the Golgafrinchans. On their planet, I would fall into the class of ‘middle-men’ – people like hairdressers, consultants, marketers, insurance salespeople, telephone sanitisers. In other words, the people the world can do without.
The remaining two-thirds of Golgafrinchans were considered the thinkers and the doers and they fooled the middle men into departing the planet for places unknown with various ruses. The planet would soon crash into the sun, a swarm of 12 foot high killer bees was about to attack, or the planet was soon to be eaten by some sort of mutant goat. This two-thirds promised, we’ll be right behind you, and of course, the idiots departed.
It might sound harsh that I include myself in a fictional group of people described as the worthless ones, but often I feel it describes me. Lost, at a time of life when I’m supposed to have come into my own.
What I looked for in a 12 month WYN course was feedback and deadlines. Because at work, I’m a robot slave but in my downtime, I’m a sloth. I work well to a deadline. Busy beaver, busy bee, take your pick. A course that says ‘here, and here, and here you will delver 5,000 words and at this point, a final draft’ worked for me.
However, for most the last few months I wrote to deadlines, and not a word more. Since October I’ve barely participated in the writing prompts I like to follow, the flash fiction. These great creative challenges hone your ability to say quite a lot, with few words. I missed it. But as queen procrastinator I didn’t allow myself that treat, because if I’m writing it should be on the blasted manuscript.
For most of those months, I was barely writing.
With regard to this blog, somehow this last couple of years of COVID and Trump-related angst discouraged me from writing opinion. I’ve felt paralysed, as if what has been going on is too big. Add in the social media world of fake news, and I seem to have lost the ability to offer my naive thoughts.
If you want to be considered a writer, you need to write. Thinking about writing, dreaming about it doesn’t qualify you. I don’t have that many strings to my bow, but like to think of myself as a writer. But am I?
When I’m in the flow of participating in flash fiction, I write and enjoy it. I like to read (55 to 65 books a year). I’ve always wanted to be a writer, as in published author.
But I’m not passionate, about anything. I’m not very emotional. There has never been a muse in my life. My characters don’t talk to me or follow me around looking for attention. Doesn’t a writer, any kind of creative actually, need to be passionate; emotional.
I’m just practical, pragmatic, pedantic, process driven – workmanlike.
Good news. I completed the draft and met the deadline. Good news. There is another MS with more words that called to me while working on the other.
Bad news. I want to write fresh, alive stories – so flash fiction calls. I don’t want to rewrite and rewrite until the words turn into something the publisher wants. That part is boring. And I only have so many more years to waste.
BTW the exiled Golgafrinchans landed on planet earth and after eliminating the existing humanoid species, became our ancestors. Those who remained on Golgafrinchan enjoyed their lives without the middle men, until the day they all died of a disease contracted from dirty telephones. Irony upon irony.