Update to – Writing is like…Keeping an Allotment – Jul 31, 2017
Spring has been late in arriving this year; especially in the North of England. Although there are some things you can shove in early, like potatoes and Early Onions, the rest has been waiting for the ground to warm up.
Writing, believe it or not, can be delayed if you are subject to ‘climate’ change. I find that during the winter months, I am more inclined to write multiple short stories – much like keeping the plot (both kinds) ticking over – keeping your hand in for the coming summer months. This is not to say writing short stories is not serious writing – it is, and it’s bloody hard work, especially for those of us who are inclined towards filmic, script-like scenarios.
If you are habitually a writer of novels, this ‘slow’ period might be good for trying new styles (I’m having a go at radishes this year! And historical writing!). Looking for Short Story Competitions is a great way to keep the brain in gear; the ink flowing, so to speak.
Short story writers may want to reverse this and give novel writing a go. Expanding the length of your story pushes your creativity to new levels. Take a look at the latest thing you have written, or are writing, does it really have to be under 5,000 words? Take us on a whirlwind tour of your characters world, create side-stories and let your characters get under the skin of your readers.
You’ve sown the seeds – on the allotment and of creativity. Don’t stand back and admire the clean rows of earth and words. Wasn’t there something else you had to do? Did you leave something out? Have you proofread the whole thing? Simply put – does it work?
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about here – Editing – it’s a bitch, but it has to be done. Weed out the obvious nonsense first. Remember, prune back hard, next year it comes back stronger!
Save. Save Again. And Back It Up
Which brings me to the main point of this update.
I ran out of space on my allotment plot this year. I was offered an unused raised bed, and this morning spent 2 hours clearing it. It was hard, itchy, skin-raking work; and raining to-boot. But my spare seeds have somewhere to go now.
Remember when I told you about losing 3 years of my work? (May 18, 2018 ) I have since learnt my lesson and now have the equivalent of a spare bed on the allotment – an external hard drive!!! When writing, save your piece, next time save it with a #2 after the title and so on and so forth. You might, by the end of writing, have anything from 20 to 50 saves of the same story. Only when you are satisfied that the thing is finalised can you get rid of the earlier saves – then download it onto an external drive. These are incredibly easy to buy, put together in it’s case and use.(Amazon) If you use Windows, then it will be simple, if like me you have Linux, you may have to do a little work to get your system to allow access, but I did it, so can you.
Another way to ensure you do not lose work was recommended to me by a member of Wirral Writers; Amy’s tip is this – e-mail your stories to yourself. This means that, if you don’t use something like Google Drive, wherever you are, you will always have access to your work!
spades, pens at the ready – write, write, write!