After a slow December I've sprinted into January by submitting five stories in a week. Only one is a totally new story, but as I mentioned in a previous post, that unfinished and rejected drawer had been lying dormant for some time. Now I'm in a fit of sorting, sending and shredding, and it feels good. I am never optimistic when I send off a story. I just reach a point when I know I've given it my best shot and further rewriting will only bring stagnation rather than improvement.
It's heartening to hear that even writers who are well established in their field still have doubts about their work. I found lots I could relate to in Teresa Ashby's recent post 'What Do I Do? The Uncertainty of Being a Writer'. I particularly like the bit where Teresa talks about every piece of writing being a new beginning. Certainly every time I start a story, I have no idea of how I'm going to tell it. Often I don't know what will happen or how it will end. The only way I find out is by continuing to put one sentence after another until the story becomes clear to me. I think curiosity is an important factor when I'm writing. After all, if I am not curious about what happens to my characters, then why should anyone else be?
On a different note, I have a balloon dilemma. We all know that it's unlucky to leave our Christmas decorations up later than the sixth of January, don't we. This is not an unfounded superstition. I noticed last Friday (January the seventh) that several households in Coronation Street and Eastenders still had their Christmas trees up - and see how much bad luck they get.
This Christmas I bought one of those foil ballons, which the party shop inflated for me. The lady behind the counter assured me that if I let the balloon down carefully by putting a drinking straw into the valve, I could have the balloon re-inflated next December. Well, last Wednesday I stuck a straw in as she told me. I expected the balloon would go flat fairly quickly. Five days later it's still on the ceiling. Now I know some of you will probably tell me to stab it with a pin. But that seems somehow... cruel. So if anyone has a tip for letting my balloon down gently, then I'd love to hear from you.
Hope 2011 is being kind to you so far.