Freedom to fail

Old windows | Miguel Saavedra

Old windows | Miguel Saavedra

My divorce is imminent. As I come closer to one kind of freedom the words race to be expelled.

I’m working on a number of short stories at the moment and feel very driven to get them finished. It’s wonderful to feel inspired and motivated but it’s also exhausting. Having children to take care of by myself, as well as commitments ranging from neurotic dogs to a range of freelance jobs, I’m finding it difficult to slow down. And that’s as frustrating sometimes as finding hard to rev up. I don’t want to be too scattered nor spread myself too thinly.

Last week I did a final edit of The Shape of Beauty and Robertson’s Dairy, two speculative fiction shorts I want to send to the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. The week before I redrafted Kinky Freedom, one of my favourite short stories ever. This week I’ve finished a first draft of another short. But I don’t want to rush these new stories out; usually if I let stories compost I can take them to another level after a few months.

One that’s giving me real trouble is The System because it’s so far from my usual genre. I’m really enjoying stretching myself this way but it’s like raising another teenager (for teenager read alien). Every few days I go back to it thinking I have it worked out, that I finally understand what it needs, only to be brought up short once again. Rework, refine. Repeat.

Meanwhile my YA ms patiently awaits polishing after its second draft two months ago. My adult fiction ms awaits feedback from its first beta-read, and I continue to wait until December when a second query will be up. Planning for my second adult novel has stalled to a grinding halt with a garden half designed and file cards and synopsis strewn about the house.

Then there’s Writing Australia’s Unpublished Manuscript Award to get sorted for, the blog I’m mounting, and putting my six year old to bed. See? Scattered.

If I had a husband I’m sure I wouldn’t have time for all this – but perhaps I wouldn’t feel so driven either. As my life stands at 40 I have my children and my writing. My writing is my gift to myself.

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