Literal desks and metaphorical treadmills

So that’s it. Six weeks of summer holidays from school are over. I go back to work tomorrow. I will swap my writing desk for my classroom one and my wonderful Pro-Form exercise treadmill for one of a more metaphorical nature.

 It’s been a refreshing break and I’ve devoted a lot of the time to writing – and not just for the blog. And because bad weather and the dreaded West Highland midge have kept me indoors on lots of days, I’ve also been pounding the treadmill  in order to rest the brain and give the heart a bit of a workout.

I took a bit of a break from the novel – things had got a bit stuck and I needed to let the sub-conscious mull it all over. And while that was happening I went in for two competitions which required me to write short stories and a couple of bits of flash (very short) fiction.

One of the competitions was run by Spokenink – an audio book/story website to which I subscribe. I put in a couple of stories and heard today that I’m on the long list of 28. The short list of 10 will be announced in a couple of weeks. There were apparently hundreds of entries so I’m feeling well chuffed. Overall prize is publication and sale of the story in audio format on the website. I’ll keep readers posted…

Meanwhile back at the novel – this week I went back over all my notes and what was written so far and got the whole thing storyboarded and the key scenes written down on cards – this should help with the ‘flow’. I also did the synopsis (version 1 out of probably 500),. I found doing a synopsis a long and painful process –so difficult. But it’s done and it was worth the effort. I’m now raring to go again and know where I’m heading – I hope!

As for school – it’ll be good to be back – good to see colleagues and all the children – I do miss them. BUT of course there will be less time for writing. However  I have my plan and I WILL stick to it and the first draft of the novel should be done by Christmas. And there’s my contributions to the e-zine, Words with Jam, and my blog posts. It’s a treadmill – but it’s good fun and in spite of appearances, I think I’m actually getting somewhere.

Withdrawal symptoms

Swans and cygnets in Hyde Park

I’ve just returned from holiday in London and Edinburgh – two great cities. I had lunch with two writer friends – separately – while I was away, and on both occasions we did talk writing for some of the time –  but no actual writing was done for two weeks – complete cold turkey. Well – almost. I did still find that the characters and plot of the work-in-progress popped into my head at least once a day. But I think it’s probably a good thing to step away from the word-processor once in a while and just let things brew away at the sub-conscious level.

And now I’m back and raring to get going again. There’s the novel to get on with of course, but I also have a few other projects to keep me at my desk. I’m planning to go in for two competitions – a piece of flash fiction and a short story required for these – and I have a children’s novel buzzing about in my head that I need to complete an outline for. So I better get on with it. Back soon with a progress report.