It’s been quiet here since I closed up shop on Friday Flash Fiction.
I’m not going to go into details here, but I’ve been unwell for some time. Writing, along with almost everything else, was a constant and increasingly unmanageable struggle. It was only through sheer force of habit that the last few FFF’s made it out into the world, and writing them took just about everything I had. I hit a crisis point around the middle of May, when stress and a cold both hit at the same time.
(Sorry for anyone who needed anything from me around that time. I didn’t have anything to give).
Weeks have passed. I’m generally feeling better. The effects of the cold are still lingering, but I can walk ten steps without a coughing fit now, so I’m calling it a win.
I’ve started writing again. It’s slow, tentative, like I’m having to learn how to do it all over again. Years ago, I had a pretty minor motorcycle accident that left me with a broken wrist and various other ailments. It could have been much worse, something I contemplated a lot while I was recovering. The next time I rode – months later – I was so nervous and overcautious I almost caused another crash.
This feels like that. Not the agonising wrist pain, but the rest of it.
For a while, thanks to the Friday Flash commitment, I was in a writing state where I couldn’t afford the time to overthink what I was writing. If I was going to make my deadlines each week, I usually had to take the first idea that occurred to me and run with it. There was no space in the process for painful deliberation over details and nuances. The point of the project was to post a story, polished or otherwise.
By the end I’d gotten to the point where I could do that almost without thinking. Not quite, but I had learned to ignore the more pedantic objections of my inner editor – the guy who can’t let anyone see a single word until the story’s been filed down to as sharp a point as I can make it.
Now I’m learning all over again how to dig in and write without filters. It’s not easy. That natural tendency to avoid risks, to overthink every step, is back in force. I’m not going to get my authorial drive back if I stop every few seconds at an editorial roadblock, get out of the driver’s seat and walk over to inspect the barrier to work out how hard it is. I just have to keep going. Over, around or through.
At least now, I have enough fuel in my tank to make a good run at it.
Friday Flash Fiction will be back, by the way. I’m pondering whether to make it a monthly or fortnightly thing. I’ve also started work on collecting them, which means editing the stories, probably expanding some (especially the ones that really creak under the limits of the thousand-word format) and writing a few new ones for spice. More news as I work out the details.