(February 17 – 23)

I took a brief four-day detour from the novel this week and churned out two short stories! A writer friend of mine alerted me to a local short story competition (theme: beneath; word count: 1200; requirement: spooky) and then shared two excellent stories that he’d written for potential submission.

Inspired by this, I wrote out a story that had been bubbling around for a while. I somehow managed to write this in a single morning, and I think it may even be one of the better things I’ve written. However, I decided it wasn’t anywhere near spooky enough. Luckily I had a backup idea, which I wrote over the subsequent two mornings (and then did a final pass on the third morning).

This one is definitely spooky, and has such a nasty ending it literally had me tweeting in glee about how diabolical it was. Needless to say, that’s the one that got submitted, so wish me luck.

One good thing

My favourite podcast this week is Cautionary Tales, which is broadly an exploration of the psychological reasons why we often make bad decisions. However, the episode that most resonated with me this week was all about the way that obstacles (aka challenges) can be a good thing. The example of this that I often fall back to is how the shark in Jaws simply never worked the way it was meant to, forcing the filmmakers to adapt their approach to telling their story. As a result we got one of the best movies of all time.

One bad thing

I’m wrapping up this post as the world faces up to pandemic life, which makes my original topic making more productive use of my evenings) feel a little moot. 

At this point in time (March 22 as I write) simply using evenings to kick back, relax and stay sane in a crazy world seems more than good enough.

As I drafted this post originally (Feb 23) my concern was that many of my evenings were an untapped block of hours in which I could be editing stories, submitting them, working on podcasts, etc, etc.

How naive we all were back in—*checks notes*—last month.