So, we’ve reached the halfway point of the year – where have all those months gone? Lockdown, rules, regulations and restrictions have probably taken care of most of them and only now are we beginning to venture out, meeting old friends, gradually getting back into old routines. So, I’m going to suggest, that now is a good time for reflection and experimentation.
Did you make some Writing Resolutions back in January? If so, take a look at them now and see how you have got on. Important point here: do not judge yourself too harshly if you haven’t been able to complete some of them. The past six months have been difficult, for so many reasons. But, having had a look at the ones you set six months ago, set some more now – for the next six months.
You can, of course, set yourself the same Resolutions, the same writing targets as before. But I’m going to suggest that it would be a good idea to come up with some completely NEW targets, perhaps some that may be a little surprising or unusual or “definitely not me”!
I’ve just started a six-week course on Writing a Psychological Thriller. It’s being run by Curtis Brown, the Literary Agents. I’d never really thought of writing a psychological thriller before, as I always thought my interests lay with historical fiction. But I’ve always enjoyed reading thrillers. So, when I saw this course on offer, I thought, “Why not?”
So far, I’m really pleased. The course is interesting, challenging and friendly. There’s plenty to read each week, plus videos from the main course leader (a well-known published writer of the genre), plus exercises to do, some of which are posted in a forum for comments from the other participants.
At this stage, I don’t know if I shall write a psychological thriller. But learning something new about writing, plus the discipline of weekly reading and writing, plus giving and receiving feedback are all things I welcome and which I happily recommend for all writers. We must not allow our craft to stagnate.
So, a few ideas:
- There are quite a number of free Author Talks on Zoom. Even the ones emanating from the US are at reasonable times over here in Europe and the UK. And my local bookshop has kept up with an impressive number of their popular talks on Zoom.
- Various organisations run completely Free Courses, such as the Open University and Udemy. And watch out for free courses run by Literary Agencies – well worth the time.
- If you don’t usually, enter a Competition or two.
- Try reading a novel that is of a completely different genre to your usual choices.
- Again, if it’s not usually your thing, try writing a poem or daily haiku.
My final suggestion this month is to try something you haven’t done before – and I’m not talking about writing. Try something completely and utterly new: it could be a sport, a new walking route, inviting friends in for a coffee morning in the garden, joining a club, volunteering, or taking up a new craft. Last weekend, I went on a one-day Leather Workshop, quite probably influenced by that lovely lady on The Repair Shop. If you’d like to read more about my most enjoyable day, making this bag, click here.
Another new experience: I recently bought a lawnmower – not the most exciting of purchases! When it arrived, it was clear that it had to be assembled – something I wasn’t expecting. It took me two hours, in the sun, to put this thing together and four times I so nearly got on the phone to ask for help. I did it, in the end, on my own. Now I have a lovely and lovingly mown lawn, all of my own making. Who knows? The experience may even work its way into a psychological thriller!
This month’s Workshop is on the subject of the UNRELIABLE NARRATOR. Go to the menu at the top of the page.
I shall be taking a bit of a summer break now, planning to be back here on October 1st.
Have a good summer.