Three months

It’s been three months since I wrote anything.

I completed the first draft of my Roman Britain historical novel, Pax Caledonia, on the 31st of December last year. Since then, I’ve done a quick read-through, passed it out for review, then implemented the easier corrections provided by my beta readers. But that’s it – typos and wording, nothing structural. There are larger problems that will take serious rewriting to address, but I’m not up to that at the moment. I don’t have a clear idea about what to do; I don’t have a vision for the completed next draft.

My science-fiction novel Far Galactic North is similarly sitting in a drawer in need of a good overhaul. After it failed to get onto the Bath Children’s Novel prize long list, it became obvious it wasn’t in any state to send out to agents. But I really don’t know the best way to improve it.

I haven’t written a single word of new fiction in January, February, or March, and now that April has begun I’m still showing no signs of getting back into the saddle. I just can’t justify getting started on yet another new project when I’ve got two novels that need further drafts and rewrites. I’m like someone flicking through car adverts when I’ve got a garage full of rusted hulks up on blocks with their engines in pieces.

I’ve written four complete manuscripts, over a hundred and fifty thousand words, since the last thing I wrote that anyone deemed worthy of being published. Too many first drafts, not enough polished work.

I’m still getting the occasional idea for new writing, but I’m not even writing down any notes. I don’t want the temptation. But if I thought that by placing an embargo on new writing, I’d direct what creativity I have into editing, it hasn’t worked out that way.

On the plus side, I’ve been able to watch a lot of telly! I got out of the videogaming habit five years ago when I started taking writing seriously, so I just don’t have the equipment for that to take up my time any more. (Both PC and console are hopelessly outdated.) But I’ve taken out a Netflix subscription and used that to fill my spare hours. So far I’ve watched Black Mirror, two seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Expanse, and half of Iron Fist. I’d never have managed that if I was still writing. Every cloud, and all that.

I’m wondering if I should try a short story or two. Just as a means of getting back into writing again. I wrote quite a few short stories last year, managing to weave them in amongst the longer projects.

Maybe I’ll try that after I’ve finished the last few episodes of Iron Fist. Ooh, but there’s Luke Cage to watch, too. And a new series of The Expanse coming soon…

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