I was already working on a new Exodus Sequence novelette, which was turning into a huge piece, so huge I had to split it in two. I had begun the second part but my writing seemed to slow down to a crawl. It was hard to concentrate on something that was, essentially, just too hard. I think I was perhaps being over-ambitious!
Also, life was getting in the way.
So I did something I've never done before: I took a few pieces of paper with me to Kew, sat in a window overlooking the lake and, while waiting for my coffee (they needed to pick the beans, so it was taking a while.....), I began to make notes. I wrote another paragraph for the Flash Fiction piece I was working on. And then made some notes for the series of short stories I wanted to write inspired by the novel I wrote last year (and for which I'm currently trying to find an agent.)
Before I knew it, I had already written a page.
The next day I sat down and wrote a few more. Then more. I sat in front of my computer, though it was turned off, and just wrote and wrote and wrote, often for longer than I would usually write when typing, and producing many more words in a sitting. The story unfolded easily, surprising me on the way. Once you read it, you'd think I'd spent an age planning it. Even the research was fun and I wrote with confidence, never second-guessing myself. It helped also not to go back and edit each day because that really slows me down too. And once I'd worked out vaguely how many words I was writing per page (around 500), it meant I could judge the length of the story and ensure it didn't turn into an over-long saga, which is what I was trying to avoid. At a rough guess, I'd say it's about 10 000 words, which is what I was aiming at. For me, that's short.
But better than all of this is the sheer utter joyful feeling of CREATING. It was just wonderful to be able to produce this work. It removed me from the day-to-day tribulations of Life long enough to improve my mood and give me the strength to go back to it. As a writer, I sometimes think I only get to spend about 2% of my life actually writing; the rest is just coping. At least writing (when it goes well) gives one something to live for.
I now sit with 24 pages of my handwriting, which looks neat enough but is actually quite a trial to copy-type. (I've been through this before.) So I've come up with a brilliant idea: using a dictaphone and audio-typing. I downloaded one (there are zillions available, it seems) onto my tablet and have already recorded the first few pages. Each recording is only a thousand words or so (two written pages) and about 6 minutes long. This makes more confrontable blocks to type. I absolutely can't stand the sound of my voice but just have to get over that.
Will let you know how it goes!