I’ve been chipping away at my full length novel here and there since the beginning of the year. Aside from one or two full writing sessions though, I have struggled to find my flow with it.
Being part of a writing support group on Facebook has kept me on the straight and narrow as it were, never letting myself get to the point of just giving up. I told a friend of mine who was imploring me to get back to writing my novel that I haven’t come this far, to only come this far.
It is this support group, Writing Fiction, that has actually inspired me to attempt something a little bit different. Last year, the writers in Writing Fiction compiled a collection of short stories called A Matter Of Words, which was published late last year. Another compilation is planned for publication this year, under the name A Journey Of Words, focussing on short stories about travel or a journey.
Each time it was mentioned within the group, I wondered what sort of story I could write that might make the cut into the collection but could never come up with anything. On Wednesday afternoon I was walking to work and my mind wandered to a few years ago when my Dad and his friends went to America to drive along the Historic Route 66. I remembered there was a city in Arizona that they stopped in called Williams, which as you’ve probably guessed is my surname. It was with this thought that I had the idea for my short story.
I immediately started making notes on my phone, frantically recording what I had in my mind before I either lost my thread or I reached Work. When I reached work and had a moment, I recorded down what I had on my phone, onto my note pad, slightly expanding a few points on paper.
Yesterday I spent about three hours researching different details of my idea, watching part of a documentary about Route 66 and even spoke to my Dad about sitting down with him to talk about his trip a few years ago. I knew how I wanted the beginning of the story to go so I stopped with the research and started with the writing. In a matter of a few hours, I had 1200 words down and the opening of my story done.
When I told my friend about the idea for my short story she wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to give up writing my novel because she wanted more of that story. My mentality at this point in time is this: Having more than one project on the go can only help my writing improve. What experience I gain from my side project will help me when I get back to writing my full length novel. My Dad used to tell us as kids that All experience is good experience. Whether it is good or bad, you always learn from your experiences. You either learn what you are good at or what you’ve done right or you learn from the mistakes you’ve made.
Either way, you learn, you evolve, and you improve.