The world has gone mad. A well-known shopping channel interrupted my television surfing this week by emblazoning the headline, Christmas in July, across my screen. Having survived the hottest day recorded in the UK, Christmas is the last thing on my mind. I stayed on the channel to appease my curiosity and was treated to…
As a writer, do you ever get those writing days where time seems to go backwards and the tick of a wall clock is louder than your thoughts? I do, on a regular basis. I refer to them as ‘humdrum days.’
Humdrum, has an almost onomatopoeic feel about it. The Oxford Dictionary lists it’s meaning as….
It’s Kandinsky weather: see the boy on the capstan
His telescope shrieking as it dashes against boulders
He never went much for rivers…
Over the past week, I have been going through the final preparations for the publishing of my first poetry collection, All Mine. The book has been over six years in the making.
Reading through several of the earliest written poems, there has been a temptation to change some of the content. All the relevant editing and formatting has been completed, but there is still this notion inside that none of the poems are finished.
Is this normal for a writer?
I had a conversation with an editor who suggested, pieces of writing are like photographs. They provide a snapshot of what a writer was thinking at a particular moment in time. As time progresses so do our skills. A constant reexamining of old work could lead to over editing, to the point where the writing loses some of the energy which created the initial spark.
Natalie Goldberg in her book, Writing Down the Bones, details how some of the chapters came out first time, whilst other parts of the book needed weeks even months of editing.
Sir John Betjeman was more precise in his approach. Each poem he wrote received a maximum of six edits and that was that, no further tampering. Philip Larkin could spend a year drafting and editing a poem, then leave the poem for up to six years before coming back to it.
Maybe the answer is personal to each writer and dependant on experience and personality. There has to be a point where we resist the urge to tinker?
Have you any tips or thoughts around finishing a piece of writing? I would love to hear them.
Welcome to my first blog post. I have sat for months thinking about what this blog is about and what would be the most intelligent thing to write and get the process underway. Nothing seems to flow. Is there a condition known as blogger’s block?
What I do know is I am a writer. I must be, I’ve written words since the age of four. School, work, the occasional love-letter. I spend every day writing in my journal; poetry, prose, anything that makes a pen move across paper. And now, as I approach the age of sixty, I have decided I would like to be published.
I have a first collection of poems, All Mine, which is in the process of being published, and I am working on my first novel, the first draft I plan to have completed in 2022.
My hope for this blog is it will turn into some kind of journal, diary, call it what you will, which will open a door to my thoughts as I continue on this late journey in life.
Who knows, maybe we will be able to share something useful along the way? If you have any budding tips or advice for a newbie on the block, then please get in touch.