I’m pregnant again! About twenty weeks, I think - I can even feel the baby moving! But, before my grown-up children faint or anyone starts knitting booties, I should explain that it’s only my subconscious mind at work. Every time I start to feel excited about a new writing project my nights are filled with vivid dreams about various stages of pregnancy. By the time I’d finished the rewrite of ‘Fighting the Tide’ I’d even given birth to twins!
The other recurring dream I have is one that crops up when I’m trying to find a solution to a plot problem. In that case I suddenly come across a secret room in my house which was hidden to me before but which is crammed with all kinds of treasures. It’s quite a difficult dream as the room is usually hard to access and frightening to enter but when I wake up I’m always in the right frame of mind to find the answer to what’s bugging me.
All this frantic nocturnal activity has been sparked off by me making a start on my OU short story. It’s undoubtedly a fault on my part but I’m not a great fan of short stories, reading or writing. To me, they fall into two broad categories, ‘cosies’ or ‘crazies’ ie popular or literary fiction. For example, I love Margaret Atwood but have you read ‘Hairball’? (1992, Wilderness Tips, Virago), I mean, bleurgh!
Anyway, after a great deal of procrastination, I ended up setting the timer for twenty minutes and just writing. Then I repeated the exercise and came up with 800 words of utter drivel and put it away. In the meantime ideas started to fall into place so I started again and wrote 500 words which became the foundation for my short story, hence the pregnancy dream.
Of course, everyone who advised me to just keep writing when I was stuck recently was right; it’s not until you’ve written anything (in my case, complete dross) that your mind starts making connections and you start to see with where the pieces fit. For any work to arrive ‘whole’ is quite rare, unfortunately. For our latest tutorial we were invited to write a 300 hundred word short story from a choice of opening lines and it tumbled out just like that – if only it always happened so easily!
Painting is 'Dusk' by Tom Tomos