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Updated: Jan 16

Had a day where my actual day job sidelined some writing I wanted to get done today. But I guess that's the gambit of trying to write whilst working full-time. I have some time this evening but I always feel more sapped trying to write after day job work.

Side note - I never liked the idea of writing whilst working - it always felt like I was cheating somebody somehow... but I found Jem Calder talking about this on the BrickLane Bookshop Podcast and I found his words very helpful.

This evening I finally managed to do the 200 in 50 exercise. Just in time as I'm due to meet my writer friend tomorrow where we'll compare second attempts.

Here's mine:

The Noah Network

The Noah network worried.

One Noah, named Noah, worried a lot.

Noah had never seen a badger. Or a hedgehog.

It was not his kind of thing. He was not that kind of Noah.

Now the network said to collect two of each. Two of each wild thing.

He was glad to be some where, where the wild things were not too wild.

He had to find them. Two of each badger and two of each hedgehog. Were there different kinds?... Different kinds of badgers and different kinds of hedgehogs?

The Floods.

That was the thing.

Floods. Floods. Floods.

The network worried.

The floods were not kind.

Noah worried he had left things too late. How was he to find two of each badger, two of each hedgehog and two of each other wild thing, when he had never seen a badger or a hedgehog?

Some Noah’s said it was already too late. Some Noah’s had already seen the flood. Their wild things had already been lost.

Their badgers lost.

Their hedgehogs lost.

Noah had never said the things he worried about to others.

The thing he worried and worried and worried…

He worried he’d be better named something different.

Updated: Jan 16

I've added around 700 words to a short story I'm working on this morning. 700 likely terrible words that will need a lot of editing. But 700 words to work with is better than a blank page. I did that in about 40 minutes at my desk. I've been with this story for a while so I can work reasonably quickly with it. I'm currently re-drafting it from a different point of view. I started in first person, switched to third but have moved back to first again and am sticking with that.

I've taken advice from Neil Gaiman (I think it was him) and adopted the approach of when I'm at my desk I can do 1 of 2 things:

  1. I can do nothing

  2. I can write

Allowing myself to do nothing is a nice way to take the pressure off needing to write. But not allowing anything else also means that writing starts to look like an intriguing idea when I'm bored from doing nothing. I've had success with that idea and now when I do sit down at my desk, I do get work done.

But I think I need to work on staying here longer. I've done 40 minutes of writing. In reality, that's a nice amount but it's not a mega-amount. It's the weekend so I feel like I should be spending hours and hours at my desk. Taking advantage of all this free time. I feel guilty for not doing so. But it's quite exhausting this writing stuff.

I'm going to start setting a stopwatch on my phone (turning the screen off so it doesn't distract me as I work) whenever I sit down at my desk to write. I'll take note of the times and see if I can edge the amount of time I spend writing up little by little. I think I'd feel better if I dedicated hours to writing each day instead of minutes.

40 minutes today. Maybe 41 minutes tomorrow.

Updated: Jan 16

So I caught up with my writer friend - he was more successful with the 200 in 50 exercise than me. Though he took a very different approach. He used a random word generator to give him 50 words (swapping in a few connectives to make it easier) and then used those from the start. He ended up with a piece of writing of around 120 words that had a sort of narrative to it. He said it helped to have the perimeters of the words set out from the start. Which I can definitely see as an advantage. We discussed a few ways the exercise could be tackled in its original method and agreed to try again for when we meet next week. See how I get on this time around.

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