“So what are you writing right now?”

My Twitter timeline is filled with writers now. I love it; really I don’t know how I managed without so many interesting and hard-working writers in my twittersphere. Quite a few are working on ongoing projects, and sometimes I feel a little inferior by comparison, because I’m not working on anything much. I’m dragging out a few lines a day of poetry, or fiction that gets immediately trashed. I have nothing right now.

I’m looking up lit magazines, and I have a few I’m keen to submit to in the near future. One hasn’t opened their reading period yet and I have a piece I feel like will really fit with them, so I don’t want to submit it anywhere else in the meantime. The trouble is, not every magazine is open to publishing work that one has already posted to one’s website. That’s absolutely fair, of course, but it does mean I need to up my writing output if I expect to have work to send off as submissions as well as work to post here.

Sin Eater sits in its folder like a nightmare sits on a dreamer’s chest. It waits. But I’m not ready for it yet. Another month, perhaps, and I’ll take it out and lay it flat and start paring away at it with a red pen. It’s been a long time since I really worked through a draft, and honestly the last novel I edited I was quite happy with the basic shape of the thing from the get-go. I deleted a scene here and added one there but for the most part the body of the beast was as I wanted it to be. This time is different. A character needs to be changed utterly, as does the party chapter. The setting is all wrong – I keep defaulting to a pleasant European city when what I need is dark American skyscrapers. This time when I write I will be keeping New York in my head. There is much work to be done in dragging Sin Eater into Draft 2. I know my protagonist is up for the challenge, but I’m not sure I am. The workload is intimidating and I am not sure where to start. I think printing it out and making notes on the manuscript is the way to go.

Writing is more fun than editing. One can throw all concerns to the wind and just create. Editing is more tricksy. You have to make real decisions, and sentences can’t just be left as the horrendous monsters they are until later. Eventually, you will have to rewrite that sentence and make it look nice. This is why New York Sour has been languishing for so long. The second draft needs to be written, and I am afraid.

So, for now, I should be working on poetry and short fiction. I’m having trouble. There is nothing in my head; I’m groping for ideas in the dark. I started a writers’ and artists’ workbook by Annette Gendler a couple of weeks ago to help me plan out my goals for the year, and looking through my 2016 oeuvre as instructed, I realised I keep revisiting themes of death and decay. Quite viscerally, too. I don’t know that that will be my focus this year, but it’s certainly an area I’m not done exploring. Like Poe, I fear premature burial. The writer exorcises her demons.

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