It’s been a while since my last post. This is entirely due to re-entering the world of full-time work. It’s been a tough adjustment. No sympathy cards, please.
Gone are the morning dog walks where I mused on the day’s writing ahead. Instead it’s a 6:30 rise and my writing time is the 40-minute train journey to work and the return trip ten hours later. It’s a very different mindset and luckily, I’m mostly editing my second novel at present, which I can do in short bursts. To write something original I need more headspace, so new stories a few and far between.
But this doesn’t mean that there is nothing going on. The writing world moves very slowly (outside of Flash Fiction). To get a story published you have to win or be shortlisted in a competition. Otherwise you can apply to a journal that might schedule you for a quarterly issue way down the line. I have stories conceived in June 2016 that I’ve only received proof copies of in the last month. They will appear in print this spring. So, pretty much two years from conception to publication. It means I’ll still have something to shout about soon even though I’m not producing so much at the moment. I guess I might hit a fallow period a year from now.
The other way things bumble along is things beget other things. Appearing in anthologies with other writers tends to gain invites to do an interview or a blog post. If people like what they read you might get more invites. Just having a novel out there opens up all sorts of opportunities. I already have three speaking engagements this year variously on writing or the US Civil War.
The reach of my writing can be near or far. This coming month I’m featured in ‘Inside Broadwater’, a magazine local to my part of Worthing. It’ll be lovely to have some local publicity and already there’s talk of maybe a shared bookstall at the summer fate and possibly judging a competition at a nearby school. In April I’ll be in ‘The Tishman Review’ a New York journal and my first short story in a US publication. Maybe something more will spring from that.
It’s the same with meeting new people. Through the work I do at the West Sussex Writers I’m getting to know all sorts of people locally. I still have many friends I workshop with from local evening classes and from my time at Chichester University. And I’ve gained new friends in Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio that have been entirely the result of writing about that part of the world. These include my good friend Jeff, a retired soldier and Civil War re-enactor who read Whirligig. We Skype ever month and if I can save from my day job, I hope to meet Jeff later this year and do some re-enacting myself. Who knows where that’ll lead, but I’m betting there’s a good story in it!