About Me

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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Friday, 6 July 2012

Goals, Projects and Writing What You Know

Rob and I watching the Olympic Torch arrive in Hull

Excuse me while I blow the dust off this blog...Now there's an abstract concept.

I have been plodding along with The Poison Maiden and pondering over some smaller projects which might prove slightly more satisfying. You see, while novel writing is thorough and wonderful and at the end is a great achievement, that end seems a long way off just yet.

I was wondering why I seem so discontent in my writing recently, and it occurred to me that I have had no smaller or stepping stone achievements to work towards. My goal for my novel is a first draft. Great, but considering this is my first fantasy novel, that isn't quite as easy as just tapping it out. 
Perhaps a better way to work is to set smaller goals, even if just story points to reach, or story chapter breaks. At the moment i'm being really quite unstructured in my approach to writing. 
I also realised that I have nothing else I'm working on, other than my previous YA novel which is on hold for a while. So perhaps the reason I'm feeling discontent in my writing is because I have nowhere else to go with it when I struggle with PM. 
So I started to think of ideas for short stories, and the ideas I found myself having were mostly to do with work and what I deal with every day; disability. 
Thy say you should write what you know, so it seemed like a good place to start. I have worked with many clients who have brought me into their world and shown me a glimpse of their experience. 
I have started a few stories, based on thoughts I have had at work, things I've witnessed, things that have bothered me, things I have learned, and people I've met. The difficulty I'm faced with is writing what I know without writing specifically. It would be relatively easy to write a short story about someone i work with, or something that happened, but I can’t for too many reasons. Also, I think that would detract from the originality of the writing process.

The idea of writing what you know is to draw on your experiences, not to write an autobiography or a biography for someone you know. There is so much about human nature, about the sensory experience, independence and social interaction that I have learned through work, so much that I could draw upon. And yet, I am struggling. 
Disability is such a complex thing to convey, and as I said, I'm finding it difficult not to write specifically. 
Still, I shall keep working on the ideas i have had - at least it's something else to keep me busy if I'm fed up of PM, and it is another channel in which I can put my experiences at work.

Does anyone else find a similar problem in 'writing what you know', or more specifically, in writing about disability? Any advice?


  1. Hey, wow, you look really different from all the other photos I've seen of you! Welcome back - I keep coming on here in case you've been writing and it's not been coming up in my reader for some reason!

    I don't know a lot, so I hardly every write what I know! But I think the key is that you have to have a story you're passionate about, that's fictional, and then write what you know into the context of that story. Think of a great story and then fit things in naturally, don't force it, or base your story as well as your characters on real life - one or other!

    Definitely work on other things and smaller goals. It's so important. Having spent months just on my current novel I was novelled-out. Spending a couple of months writing two short stories, two flashes and a bit of non-fiction has been fun and made the prospect of returning to my novel more appealing. Why don't you look for some themed short story competitions to give you ideas and deadlines to motivate you? is one resource.xx

    PS: I also write down at the start of each week a couple of little goals to achieve. So instead of "Write novel", I have the goals of "write one blog post about...", "re-read short story and make notes for next draft" and "write 5000 words of novel" etc.

  2. To be fair, that photo was taken at the end of a long day haha. Sorry I haven't been about.
    I think you're right, and perhaps I have been trying to force it a bit too much.
    I used to flick through writer's forum and look at the short story comps there to give me motivation, but i have yet to renew my subscription. I will do it though, as WF is also motivating in itself.