‘Torn Between Two Lovers’: Trying to write ‘long’ and ‘short’

I am on my eternal quest to make better use of the time available to me and to actually sit down and write. That doesn’t mean beating myself up if I don’t write every day (Alex Gazzola has something interesting to say about that today over on his blog, Mistakes Writers Make) but it does mean trying to ‘up’ the number of hours that I spend writing.

Have you ever tried writing something ‘longer’ at the same time as writing short stories? When I’m focussed on one, I feel guilty or think I should be doing the other one. If I’m writing a short story, I often have an overwhelming urge to swap back to the novel that I’m neglecting but if I’m dallying around with that, then I want to write a short story because I enjoy the buzz of finishing something and sending it off.

‘Torn Between Two Lovers’ springs to mind. Remember that cheesy song by Mary MacGregor?

Anyway, the novel needs more of my time and focus, if it’s ever to get finished, so I have devised a cunning plan. (It’s not that cunning, don’t get too excited):

On Mondays, I am allowed to write a blog post and to work on a short story. But for the rest of the week, I have to get on with my ‘longer work’.

Hmm, we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve also been trying to get to my local library to write. So far, I’ve managed it twice. It’s a small library, there are only 4 computers (all taken this morning when I showed up!!) and, libraries, I have discovered, are not the shhh-quiet places they once were.

This was the conversation this morning, between two members of library staff (positioned at opposite ends of the room).

Phone rings (loudly)
Jill: Hello, Cheakley Library*, Jill speaking, how may I help you? Oh, hello Janet. Right, yes. OK, Janet. (puts phone down). THAT WAS JANET!
Rita: Janet? What did she want?
Jill: She didn’t say. She had someone in front of her.
Rita: Oh.
Phone rings again (loudly)
Jill: Hello Janet!

*names have been changed to protect the innocent.

And so it went on….

Also, it’s quite hard to concentrate when the person on the computer next to you has a bit of a B.O problem. Right, so I need headphones and a peg and I’ll be fine. Any excuse to spend, eh?

I’ve also been taking books out of the library, rather than buying them. One I can highly recommend, which I finished today is Liane Moriarty’s ‘Big Little Lies’. Apparently it’s been made into an award-winning mini series starring Nicole Kidman. You might have seen it – it was on earlier this year in the UK. The novel is set in modern-day Australia and focuses on a primary school and its various factions and cliques. Right from the start you know there’s been a murder but you don’t know until the very end, who’s the victim or the perpetrator. Really unputdownable!

The wedding went well last weekend. Everyone thinks it always rains in Scotland but it never rains when I’m there! And sure enough, at the weekend, it was a bit cold but it was dry and sunny. The good news is, I managed not to break my ankle in my new killer heels (which felt like stilts when I was wearing them. I am used to trudging around in wellies most of the time!).

This entry was posted in Blogging, Books, Finding Time To Write, Novels and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to ‘Torn Between Two Lovers’: Trying to write ‘long’ and ‘short’

  1. Jackie Sayle says:

    I gave up on my local library years ago, not only could you hear loud Spanish lessons going on from the mezzanine ‘quiet’ study area above but also children’s story and play time. And their supply of decent books got so bad that they actually had to ask library members to supply books. Not their fault, but the big council for the nearby town who have taken over from our village parish council and always put their town first and they had to do everything they could to validate being there and to survive. The town council’s last suggestion (in order to take the small piece of land the library occupies and sell it for building on) was that the library should be relocated into the local church. That’s what they tried to do when they closed our community and youth club down, too. The vicar is beside herself with rage now. The only time they didn’t get their own way over one of those them or us decisions was last year when my OH was the lorry driver delivering the Christmas trees and he hauled the best one out for us. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the delivery driver this year and we have a tiny tree with a bare top the same height as the bit with branches. It’s by the by for anyone reading this, since you don’t live in my village, but we villagers have found a loophole to bring back our parish council.Hoping for better things in the future.

  2. Wendy Clarke says:

    When I was writing my two novels (one last year and I one the year before) I started off writing a story a week and devoting the rest of the time to the novel but then I dropped down to two stories a month. You have to prioritise. A novel isn’t something that can be done half-heartedly. I needed my husband (and writing chum, Tracy) to give me a stern talking to before I accepted that.

    • Wendy, your comment made me smile because this is exactly the process I’m going through! I agree, you can’t write a novel half-heartedly and certainly not while your head is full of short story ideas and characters too! I had a stern talking from my writing buddy Sally about this as well! What would we do without them, eh?!

  3. Keith Havers says:

    I’m experimenting with concentrating on magazine stuff for the first two weeks of the month and doing the longer stuff in the second half. Don’t know if that will work out.
    I was in our library when one old guy was logged into one of the computers while on his mobile to the helpdesk trying to sort out problems on his home machine. Eventually one of the assistants had to shut him up. I don’t mind the kids though. They need encouragement.

    • Let us know how you get on with your ‘two weeks on the magazines, two weeks on the longer stuff’ experiment, Keith! Longer chunks like that might work better for you and that’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it, finding what works for you?

  4. Alex Gazzola says:

    I did have a very worthy comment to make about guilt and dividing your time between several works (and their characters) which you clearly care about a lot (and hence the guilt) … but instead I’ll just politely request that you start writing a sitcom based on Jill, Janet and Rita (although don’t feel guilty about it if you don’t) …. (And ta for the mention too.)

    • Ha, yes, that’s another thing I should be doing!! (the sitcom). Mind you, Jill changed to Sandra half way through the story – and then went back again when I realised my mistake – so apologies to those of you who read the ‘sitcom scene’ and were totally bemused (and will never, understandably, be interested in any sitcom I might write…!)

  5. pennywrite says:

    In the past, I have been known to write two short stories in tandem, the idea being that if one ran into the sand then I could pick up on the other. I can say it does work, although nearing Christmas I’d also add it’s more a case of trying to write something (anything!) each day at the moment.

    • Penny, thanks for your comment. Yes, I find if I’m writing one, then I get the impetus, often, to write a second short story – either alongside or straight afterwards. Funnily enough, when I also tell myself I’m ‘not allowed’ to write short stories, I get lots of ideas and start itching to get them down on paper! (I wish it worked in the same way for the novel. Must admit, I’m finding that much harder to knuckle down to!).

  6. juliathorley says:

    Never mind the writing – those shoes! OMG!

  7. Julia, I couldn’t walk in them either!! But I just couldn’t resist them. Had to toddle around, hoping I wouldn’t fall over!! And I changed out of them before the evening dancing started, of course! I must know the Kirstie McColl song but I can’t remember it! I’ll have to look it up on YouTube!

  8. Linda Tyler says:

    Glad the wedding well went and there was no rain. I thought I should point out the common misconception that it always rains in Scotland. The west coast – of both Scotland and England – tends to be wet; the east coast (again of both countries) veers towards dry. Linda, in the north east of Scotland.

  9. I’m ‘supposed’ to be working on a novel for NaNo, but I keep getting short story ideas and writing them instead. Still, writing the ‘wrong’ thing is better than not writing … isn’t it?

  10. Carrie says:

    haha! loved Julie’s comment about your shoes! Loving them too! I’m the same, dap about in flats the whole time, so if I wear heels feels like I’m gonna fall over! lol Agree totally re the time factor too……time just keeps running away with me and even though I have lists and notes shoved everywhere, and try to be firm about sticking to one job at a time, doesn’t always work. Ho hum! 😉

    • Thanks for your comment about the shoes, Carrie. I will probably never wear them again (unless someone’s on hand to carry/support me) but they are just so beautiful, I could just sit and look at them all day!

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