The view from Mount Hooley

So much time has elapsed since my last post, it will be a wonder if I have any regular readers left. This is entirely my own fault and I am ready to deal with the consequences. I had a short story returned, unwanted, unloved, by a magazine last week, so I’m in the right frame of mind for rejection.
I’m settling in to a new rhythm here in our new house; but it is a gradual process. During these first early months, getting to know our village, the local area, a new country, there have been many all-too-easy distractions. For distractions, read: procrastinations.

Firstly, I’ve wanted to go into Edinburgh and begin to feel my way round; set my city compass, if you like.

Then there are the friends who have been eager to visit (thank goodness that they are eager: it’s a long way from ‘old’ home, and therefore more than just popping round); and other friends for us to visit who are now more local due to the move north.

Family, of course, have taken centre stage. I brought mine with me (a very understanding mother); whilst the ‘other’ side were already waiting patiently for us to make our minds up and join them in Scotland.

Oh, and then there’s been the AGA to get to grips with. Every day provides a new excuse to experiment with some baking. And who knew you could iron the bedding by laying it on top of the (covered) hot plates?

image: agaliving.com

image: agaliving.com

Hours of wash day fun.

What I’m trying to say is, that despite having loads of new ideas for stories crying to be let out on to paper, I have been finding reasons aplenty to ignore their pleas. Until now.

Perhaps it’s the change in the weather: there’s less of a pressure to be outside, and plenty of good reasons to stay within these old walls. Or perhaps those voices are simply becoming too loud to ignore. Either way, I have found myself increasingly drawn to my desk and I’ve been writing again.

I experienced a few days of not being able to decide which of my projects to concentrate on. There are several strands you see; I’m juggling more than one writing ball; trying to keep my eggs in alternative baskets.

1) The flash fiction. I still love this form and its inventiveness. I’ve just sent off a couple to compete in competition; bundled up in an email attachment and dispatched into the big wide (brutal) world of competitive writing.

2) Short stories. I have attempted a couple recently, but having concentrated for so long on the flashes, I find them daunting. However, I have completed one (that of the rejection letter: “we found your story a little weak”), and am working on another. These are intended for the magazine market. Publication for me can come from any source.

3) My children’s novel(s). These are long-term works-in-progress. One, I have kind of abandoned, in favour of a new idea. Actually, it’s an old idea which is in the throes of being re-born as a full length book. I hope.

4) This blog. I’ve enjoyed blogging over the last few years and don’t want to stop. I keep meaning to find a direction for it and stick with it. I’m sure it would be more successful that way; would be read by more people. Publishers say they like writers to have a blog; a presence online etc. So, in the everlasting hope that I will one day have finished something worthy of finding its way to a publisher/agent, I think I’ll keep it going.

I see no issue with my several strands. Some days I feel like concentrating on one; some days more than one. Some days I need to get out and enjoy my new surroundings; some days the wind blows so wildly that the only place to be is inside watching it whip white horses from the waves. Then, occasionally, I remember to turn away from the window and put pencil back to paper. (Did I mention that it’s really windy here in our new house? We’re rather exposed and the effect of the two bridges seems to send the wind swirling into weird vortexes over our garden. Shortly after moving in, we discovered that our house was built on what was once locally known as Mount Hooley.

Mount Hooley: it's not a mountain, but the wind sure blows like it was.

Mount Hooley: it’s not a mountain, but the wind blows here like it was.

And that’s exactly how it blows.)

The clocks go back tomorrow. As darkness encroaches on our days, I anticipate my word count will increase. At least, I hope it will. And in any of my strands. The important thing is to write.

The sun has just set. After a day of lashing rain, the sky cleared in time for a beautiful display of colours on the rail bridge. The view from Mount Hooley never disappoints. With any luck, the writing from Mount Hooley won’t either.

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4 comments on “The view from Mount Hooley

  1. Hey Justine, you seem like you’ve had a lot on your plate just lately. I’m sure you’ll find the right direction for this blog and see your writing endeavours to their proper ends. Nice to see you again! Love the aga!

  2. Icy Sedgwick says:

    Glad you’re (sort of) back!

  3. Hey Icy. I am sort of back. Never went away really. Different priorities for a while.

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