Stop. Start. Give Up. Try Again.

I’ve been working on the writing malarkey for many years. You know how successful writers often say that they filled exercise books as children, scribbling down their first stories in a childish hand with a big, fat crayon?

In a way that’s me. I have notebooks filled with plans and first lines. Ideas.

But what I find more interesting are the documents on my laptop. The stories I liked enough to begin to type. And then which I abandoned for various reasons. Probably mostly because my characters had run out of steam.

I read an article in a writing magazine a month or so ago which suggested that, in order to move forward with one’s writing career, one needed to go back and bin all those old ideas which never went anywhere. Only then, with a completely clean slate, can one free up the clutter in the mind to start afresh.

I’m not sure about this. It’s true a tidy work-space can lead to productivity. But when it comes to writing, anything can provide a trigger, and reading through old, unfinished works can spark an idea and breathe new life into the original. Sometimes what’s required for an idea to be complete is a maturity that perhaps wasn’t there the first time. A difference of perspective. That, and I’m a hoarder.

One day, maybe, I’ll admit that nothing’s ever going to happen and I shall purge my folder of barely-started stories. But not yet.

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