January is a wonderful month (no it is, really) and one of the best parts is cracking open a brand new notebook and filling it with fresh words. Let’s not call them resolutions (not a fan, they can so quickly turn to disappointments and we use them against ourselves) but rather hopes and dreams; let’s take a gentler approach to writing and ourselves as writers (and humans!).
If you’re struggling to think of a fresh new story, perhaps try this. Choose a story you wrote a while ago, one you’ve abandoned, one you got stuck on, you lost your way, you don’t think it’s any good. Print it out and read it in a comfy chair, with a cup of coffee or tea, and don’t use a pen, just let the words sink in without criticising them. Maybe do that a couple of times. Then put it away, go about your day. When you’re ready, come back to your laptop or notebook and write that story out, without looking at it. See what has stayed with you, what you remember. My hope is, you’ll unearth a ‘new’ story that was there all along. I do this a lot with drafts. I write them in pencil and just let them go where they want. They’re terrible, really rubbish (yes, I know we shouldn’t use those words but they ARE) but when I come back, read them, start again, there’s nearly always something golden I can find. A character, a situation, a voice, an idea, even just a sentence but it’s great, the story is still breathing! And it’s a kind of magic.
Our deadline is April 11th. That’s 14 weeks away. Plenty of time so slow down, don’t rush, swim around a bit, explore your words, weave magic. I truly believe stories are more important than ever. Fill them with your voice, your unique way of seeing the world. Write the story only you can write. We can’t wait to read them!