I should be writing something.

Obviously I am, but I mean something else.

In the absence of talking to other people in the current quarantine I find myself increasingly mumbling at the computer or the newspaper or the keyboard as I write. Sometimes this is prompted by someone on the radio revealing a situation, action or opinion that demands a verbal reaction at the very least. At others, and I confess it is an increasingly large percentage of times, it is simply cantankerous commentary which is completely unnecessary. I have a suspicion that this is the written equivalent of that verbal mumbling.

I’ve always been prone to talking to myself, either internally or aloud. My family assure me that a lot of the time it is the latter rather than the former, although how they know what goes on in my head baffles me.

There are always things I should be writing.

I have a couple of SF stories on the go – one of which started out as a short story, ballooned up to 20,000 words, with less than half the planned arc done and is now sat there with a ‘plan’ to cut it down to  reasonable size as originally planned, cutting the verbosity and not pursuing interesting asides. Or, I should be weaving them into the main plot, rewriting the beginning to foreshadow and plant ideas and turn it into a novel. Unfortunately it appears to be AND rather than OR at the moment and as it is the same basic idea, only one of them is likely to see the light of day. Part of me hopes it is the novel otherwise there will be about 90,000 words wasted rather than 6,000!

That and the other one that is simmering away in the background are in addition to the one I mentioned a few days ago that I have been trying to sell.

Away from that genre there are two Fairy Stories a la ‘WOLF!’, one of which is all but finished, but I can’t seem to sit down and tie the ends off, and one which lost its way and turned into a story about council corruption, which needs serious revision. There are several short stories, the remainder of Westley Writers and at least four novels also lurking. I say ‘at least’ because there are the ‘beginnings’ of more and close scrutiny reveals that several of them are probably parts of the same story approached from a different angle and could and should be integrated.

None of these however are what I should be writing at the moment.

In an attempt to stop my mumbling and speak to people other than my family, I have agreed to join an experiment proposed by one of the more technically enthusiastic members of a writers group I belong to. He has proposed a virtual meeting courtesy of Zoom and I have acquiesced with some trepidation. Not because of the technical aspects; I anticipate few problems with those but because I can’t think of anything I have that is appropriate to offer to the meeting. The idea of writers groups for me is not to write things for the group but to use the experience to inspire, affirm and offer direction to each other in our work that is being written for a bigger audience.

Normally I don’t find that a problem. If I have written something I want to hear feedback about or even to entertain, I will read it. I will listen to others’ work and offer thoughts as appropriate. If I haven’t I’ll still turn up and engage in the second part of the experience but am happy to say ‘nothing to read’ for the first part.  But suddenly the idea that we are going to the trouble of downloading a program and running it to meet virtually makes me feel I should have something ready to read. And that is making me have absolutely no coherent thoughts about any of the things I could and should be writing.

Hence this mumbling.

I’d like to report that this has cleared my mind and I am now off to dash off a few thousand words of any of the projects mentioned above.

I suspect I am going to make another cup of coffee. Or lunch. Or just have a wander around the internet. Or maybe put Radio 4 on. And start shouting at it.

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