Has it been a year already? Seems like a good time for a blog post. A few updates then.
On my book project:
A year ago today, I set off for the University of East Anglia to be the David T.K. Wong Fellow for 2018-2019. I took with me a big stack of paper that I called my ‘zero draft’ of what I hope becomes my first novel. The fellowship was an incredible experience. I loved the opportunity to focus on one thing instead of twelve. I loved the imaginative space that opened up when I concentrated deeply on a project. But most of all, I loved the chance to take myself and my writing seriously enough that even when I entered new territory as a writer, I trusted that if I kept writing, something would become clear. On days when the writing was difficult or slow, there was still joy in the process. It was a gift to learn what it feels like to have such a deep allegiance to a story. It’s a new feeling for me, and one I have come to treasure.
Through the year, I worked through that draft and wrote, wrote, wrote. I also travelled to the US for family reasons and to China and Taiwan for research. At the end of June, on the last day of my fellowship, I printed out another big stack of paper, which felt like an ‘almost draft’. Very few of the words from the first stack were the same as the second stack, but I think that’s how it goes sometimes. Through July and August, I worked on that draft, taking down scaffolding and filling in holes, and on 31 August, I sent a ‘I don’t know what to do with this anymore and I’m going cross-eyed draft’ to my agent. I have since met with her. Now, invigorated by her questions and feedback, I am at work on the next draft.
On my other writing:
Towards the end of last October, while on the fellowship, I got the very exciting news that a poetry pamphlet I had submitted to a contest with Hedgehog Poetry had won! The prize included publication and a chance to participate in Sue Burge’s The Writing Cloud online workshop. Sue offers great monthly prompts and wonderfully sensitive and helpful feedback. If you’re looking for an online workshop, do check her out.
AND, as winner of the inaugural Nicely Folded Paper competition, my poetry pamphlet, Falling Outside Eden, will be released on October 14th. If you’d like to order a copy, you can do so over here in my shop. In March, I had a micropamphlet published as one of Hedgehog Poetry’s Sticklebacks. You’re welcome to download it here (where you can also see all the other Sticklebacks) or buy a hardcopy in my shop. Postage and packaging are free for both UK and US orders over £5 until 25 October. Here’s a peek at the front covers:
On my Writing Circles:
A few people have asked if I'm going to be leading any Writing Circles this year. Sadly, I have to say I won't be for the foreseeable future. When I lead groups, I do so wholeheartedly and with deep creative attention. I wouldn't bother otherwise. But at the moment, my wholeheartedness and deep creative attention are on my manuscript.
I must say, though, that in preparing this blog post, I had a look through the photos of previous Writing Circles. I miss them. The communities that we grew and the ways we supported one another are rich and meaningful. I will be leading them again, I just don’t know when. But I’ll let you know when I do. And if the time is right, I hope you’ll join us.