stretched thin – what i’m writing

moody sky IMGDo you ever feel pulled between different types of writing? Like you’re in a tug of war between poetry and flash fiction, novels and short stories, or blogging and, well, everything else you want to write?

At the moment I’m feeling a bit caught. I love writing all of the above, but any time I spend on one means I have less time for another. And my writing time at the moment is fairly limited – I have baby naps (when I also need to fit in housework and other admin) and evenings (in which I also spend time with my husband, attempt to have a social life and attend to my telly addiction).

Into these wedges of time I fit blogging, working on my novel, and writing flash fiction and poetry. I haven’t written a short story for a while which I kind of miss as I love writing those too!

I feel stretched a bit thin. “Like butter scraped over too much bread” you might say if you were wanting to quote a certain hobbit.* And I’ve been wondering if I should do something differently. Maybe if I just focussed on my novel I could break through the ‘oh man it’s a pile of steaming horse crap’ thing I’ve currently got going with it?

Or maybe I should ignore my book and just focus on flash fiction which – as I said in my post yesterday – I find really satisfying to write. Perhaps I should blog less? I mean, I’m not a prolific blogger but I write at least three posts most weeks which is a fair old time commitment.

I’m not sure. Do I like trying my hand at lots of different forms of writing? Yes. But is my lack of focus holding me back from getting genuinely good at any of them? Well, possibly. And that’s what worries me – that I’m never going to succeed in any area because I’m too busy experimenting in all of them. I haven’t submitted any work anywhere for ages because I’m too busy writing everything I can, to ever look at submission possibilities. It seems a shame.

But maybe it’s fine, perhaps it’s what I should be doing? I haven’t been writing for long after all. Maybe this is just like getting fit before specialising in a particular sport? My future could lie in 200m or marathons but I’ll never know when I can’t even run down the road without getting out of breath. Or could I have a future writing poems, stories and books? Does anyone do that? Does anyone manage to have time?

  • Do you stick to one form of writing or several?
  • Do you think it’s good to try out lots of different styles, or is focus important?
  • How do you juggle blogging and writing (not to mention other aspects of life)?

I’d love to know your thoughts!

Writing Bubble

 

*That would be Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring to give J.R.R Tolkien his due.

27 thoughts on “stretched thin – what i’m writing

  1. Mummy Tries

    I feel exactly the same my lovely. I have so many ideas but only a small amount even make it to paper or screen. I have no time and have to make do with the odd hour (or 5 mins) here and there while little ones nap, etc… the joy of being a writing mum I guess. I have to say I’m beginning to feel like a proper ‘tortured artist’. Hugs hon xxx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      It’s so frustrating isn’t it? If only we had more time we could take on the world! (or write about the world or something.) Thanks for your support as ever, and for linking up. xx

      Reply
  2. Iona@redpeffer

    I could have written this too! In fact my post isn’t too dissimilar really this week either. I don’t have an answer, other than to say I share your thoughts and feelings. I’m hoping that as the children grow, our time will come :)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes, it will be easier when all the kids are at school. At least that’s what I tell myself! I can imagine I’ll still want to be writing lots of different things all at once though even with the extra hours in the day. Thanks for commenting and for linking to #whatImwriting

      Reply
  3. Nicola Young

    I don’t have time to write lots of different fiction. I can barely manage one blog post per week, plus working on my novel. There is an article in this months’ Writing Magazine’ about writing short stories for competitions. It talks about the idea of highlighting the competitions first, then writing the stories specifically for them. The idea behind it is using the competition briefs as a focus i.e. taking a specific topic or starting line etc. as your inspiration, instead of writing a random story and then not knowing what to do with it. It is good practice, if anything and I was toying with the idea of trying it out.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      That’s a really interesting idea about writing for competitions – I’ll definitely consider doing that! And your focus on your novel plus one blog post a week sounds sensible. I should probably do that. Or at least try doing it – only I do love writing other things so much! Dilema. Thanks for commenting and linking up!

      Reply
  4. sadie hanson

    I am so with Nicola…. I only have time for the blog(s) and the novel. When I have completed this draft of the novel I will take the time out and find out about the writing competitions and write short stories then. There’s no way I could focus on several stories at once…. I think that would completely do my head in. X

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I think in a way it does do my head in but in another way it keeps me on my toes and pushes me to be more creative! I definitely feel like I’m learning all the time which feels like a good thing. But perhaps I would learn more if I just focussed more? I’m definitely mulling this over… Thanks for linking up again xx

      Reply
  5. Carol Cameleon

    Well now, my thoughts are that any writing is good. It keeps the ‘juices’ flowing. For me, when I’m in the flow, I’m totally there and it doesn’t really make a difference to me what genre I’m writing while in the flow. When I get an urge and an idea starts to form, let me at it! Honestly? I don’t think you should be a torqued soul for feeling yo should be focussing on just one or two genres of writing. What you’re writing is fab and it’s maybes limbering you up for that novel ;) as for time… That’s a whole new comment box! #whatimwriting

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Carol. Yes, the subject of time management could certainly be a whole other blog post with its own comments! And I agree about all writing keeping the juices flowing. If i only focussed on the novel I might get very frustrated at everything else I didn’t have time to write! Thanks for linking up again. xx

      Reply
  6. Sophie Is...

    I’m struggling to keep my blogging under control to focus on the novel at the moment – I definitely don’t think I could fit anything else in! But it is sometimes frustrating squashing down the beginnings of ideas for short stories – and for me at the moment novel number three. I have lots of scribbles in various notebooks to try to avoid ideas getting lost, but I just find it too stressful leaving things unfinished to have too many projects going on at the same time – not to mention having space in my brain for all those characters…

    There’s definitely something in the idea that you’re just honing your craft though. I’m sure when the time is right you won’t be able to hold back on focusing on the whatever it is that really motivates you – whether it’s a novel or a collection of short stories or poetry – and for now whatever writing you’re doing will never be a bad thing! xx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yes the ‘honing my craft’ argument does make sense but I do wonder if I will ever be able to settle on one form of writing when I feel drawn to it all. Only time will tell on that one I guess!

      Blogging can get quite consuming can’t it? Glad I’m not alone in feeling that way. Maybe I need to jot more ideas down rather than trying to write every idea into a poem/story/whatever as soon as I have it! Thanks for linking to #whatImwriting again! xx

      Reply
  7. Emily Organ

    I completely sympathise with the lack of time. I think it’s hard to fit in blogging a lot and writing. I used to blog very regularly (a parenting blog) and with all the online networking and promotion I did on that I had hardly any time to knuckle down to writing once I’d done all the other things I needed to do as well. My blog these days is lucky if it gets one post a week because I’m so determined to get my writing done. I’m trying to spend a it more time on it now. Any writing is good practice anyway whether it’s blog posts, short stories or your first draft. If you want to get your book written maybe allocate half an hour each day on it? Some days it will feel like a real struggle to get anything good written but other days may go quite well. Personally I found my drive by imagining how I would feel when I was 80 and never wrote the books I had the ideas for! Good luck with it.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Emily! I like the idea of imagining how I would feel at 80 if I hadn’t written what I want to write – interesting motivator. And allocating half an hour a day to my novel…hmmm I think I may give that a go! I think being a parenting blogger would be exhausting. Glad you’ve found more time to write now. Thanks for linking to #whatImWriting – welcome to the linky! xx

      Reply
  8. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    This is so interesting, I touch on a few of these things in my post this week too :) I think (and I am the real novice here!) that any writing is good. I used a quote that I came across yesterday that really spoke to me, about writing teaching writing. I do think that you hone your writing skills by writing more and trying out different things… but, there are only so many hours in the day! I agree with Sophie though, perhaps you will just know when you’re ready to focus on one (or two!) things.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I love the quote about writing teaching writing! It feels very true. Sometimes I read back what I wrote a year ago and cringe at how awful it is. But then I turn that on its head and think how far I’ve come (although that does mean I will be cringing again in a year at everything I’m writing now I suppose!) And I really don’t think you are a novice writer – you have been writing for years and are very skilled with words. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting again xx

      Reply
  9. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

    I think you can write anything and everything. And you should. Experiment and figure out what works for you. Right now, I’m doing mostly poetry, blogging and novel writing. The novel writing is a constant – I rarely have nothing on the go there. But, that is what works for me. I don’t know where my future lies in writing, or if there is even a future for me. All I know is that I love the three forms of expression I’m currently dabbling with and will continue to spout crap for the forseeable future.
    You have to have a go and see where it takes you. Writing isn’t something you can put in a box, I don’t think. If you get inspiration, write it, see what comes out. So what if it’s compleye horse crap? You wrote it. That’s a thing x

    Reply
  10. Maddy Post author

    Thanks Chrissie. OF COURSE there is a future for you in writing! It’s great that you write so much and so often – I’m very impressed (slightly in awe if I’m honest). And yes, writing at all is a thing, THE thing. ‘Don’t get it right, get it written’ I guess! But I’m still torn because I want to write more than is physically possible. But I’ll work something out. Thanks for being my splendid co-host. xx

    Reply
    1. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

      Pfft, the pleasure is all.. wait, I don’t even know which way round that goes.

      Just keep writing. It’ll come in time. you’re doing plenty x

      Reply
  11. Aimee

    Oh god, I’m just the same! I can’t juggle work writing, blog writing, and book writing! So I’ve got strict and set aside days for each thing. It might not help, but I’m hoping it will.

    Good luck lovely, and don’t over do it !

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      So many types of writing, so little time! Your plan to set aside days sounds sensible – let us know how it goes! Thanks for linking up. xx

      Reply
  12. Louise

    It’s so hard to juggle daily life and writing, isn’t it? I can so identify with this. At the moment, I don’t get a lot of writing done other than the blogging but on the plus side, I’m doing a lot more writing than I was before I was blogging and so I feel like at least it has got me writing again. It is also hard to get past the doubts in our heads which constantly tell us that our writing is rubbish when it isn’t – your writing is your voice, and that is unique to you and I enjoy reading your blog posts and your poems and flash fiction. Good luck with deciding which direction you want to try and move in.

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Louise, I appreciate it! And yes I find the act of blogging has helped me write somehow too. I think because it’s somewhere to share (some of) what I write which pushes me to finish pieces rather than leave them in the ‘idea’s stage’. Good luck with your writing too – I’m loving your poems! xx

      Reply
  13. Morgan Prince

    Brilliant post Maddy. I have been struggling recently with this same issue. There is so much I want to do that I lost focus. However the fog seems to be clearing and I’m more sure what I want to do. I want to write. I want to finish my book, I mean really finish it. I think that as long as you’re enjoying it, it doesn’t matter what you’re writing. And you’re learning every step of the way. Good luck on deciding which way to go. xx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Glad the fog is clearing for you – I look forward to hearing news about your completed manuscript! I think I’m going to struggle to make a choice to give anything up at the moment because I enjoy it all. But if my book stays stalled I may have to re-think! Thanks for linking up to #whatImwriting again and for your supportive comment. xx

      Reply

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