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Saturday, 25 June 2016

When Life gets in the Way, by Fiona Lloyd


I have a confession to make: I’ve not done much writing recently…at least, not the sort of writing I’d like to be doing. I’ve written a few school reports (still plenty left to do, though), and I’ve done some musical arrangements for work. My two main WIPs, however, are feeling sadly neglected.

Progress is slower than I'd like...
It’s not that I’m short of projects. I’ve had helpful advice regarding both the bigger items I’m working on, and I’ve plenty of other ideas for articles I’d like to write. But those chunky pieces need a fair amount of rewriting (gulp!), which means I not only need time to write, but also space in my head to think through the changes I’m going to make. I’m hopeful that once I get to the end of term I’ll be able to get back into a better (and more productive) writing routine, but part of me doesn’t want to wait that long.

Before you start passing out the virtual tissues - or a virtual kick up the derrière if you feel it’s more appropriate - let me share something that has helped me through this dry patch. I’d call it a God-thing, as it came out of the recent writers’ weekend at Scargill (and it’s not the first time it’s happened to me there). When we had our free writing time, a couple of lines for a poem came into my head. I wouldn’t describe myself as a poet, but these lines sneaked into my suitcase and came home with me.

And for the last three weeks, they’ve followed me around: to work, to church, to Morrison's. Not only are they stalking me, but they’ve started reproducing at a steady rate. I now have 28 lines typed out on a sheet of paper, kept folded in my handbag. When I’m on my lunch break, out comes the piece of paper. I’ll insert a new word here, or cross out a phrase there. I recite verses aloud as I’m driving from one school to the next, testing out metre and cadence. And it’s surprisingly satisfying, like a generous helping of custard on my granny’s best apple crumble.
Needs custard...

Working on something relatively small has stopped my writing-brain from putrefying, and has soothed what could have been a severe case of writers’ itch. I can see my poem taking shape, and I have high hopes of finishing it, even if no one else ever reads it.

So next time you feel stuck in a rut with your writing, or so swamped with everyday life that the notion of writing another chapter feels more stressful than taking Tim Peake’s place on the International Space Station, try finding something shorter to work on instead. Even if it’s for your eyes only, it might just get those writing juices flowing again.


Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship leading team at her local church. She enjoys writing short stories, and is working on her first novel. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013, and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. She is married with three grown-up children. Fiona is ACW's membership secretary.

12 comments:

  1. I hope we do get to read it, Fiona!

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    1. So do I! - I'm planning to share it in the Scargill FB group once it's finished.

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  2. That's still called a Work in Progress! And it'll keep your writing arm busy so that it's not such a struggle when you get back to the main ones. Looking forward to reading the finished artic .. er .. poem.

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    1. Thanks, Fran. It sounds rather grand to call it a work in progress - but then at least it makes me feel more like a proper writer!

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  3. The very next email I read after your blog post was the daily Henri Nouwen quote, and guess what it said? 'The word is always a word for others. Words need to be heard. When we give words to what we are living, these words need to be received and responded to. A speaker needs a listener. A writer needs a reader.' So let's see your poem!

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    1. I'll share it, I promise - just as soon as I've completed it!

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  5. Oh, I like this. Small steps indeed. I'm telling myself the same thing. Thanks Fiona.x

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    1. Thanks, Helen - I'm trying to strike the right balance between getting overly frustrated and letting it slide altogether!

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